“Our wildlife has always been a part of our different cultures in Africa. Our wildlife is part of who we are as Africans. When oh when did we lose the heartbeat of Africa?” These are the words of the creator of a new initiative to get African people to start taking ownership for the future of Africa’s rhinos.

Alexia Abnett Trombas is determined to raise awareness across the continent of Africa to save the dwindling animals that belong to Africa. Her new organization is called the Southern African Fight for Rhino (SAFFR). “We are African people fighting for African animals,” she says.

“We started working in this in October 2015,” she said.

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“We have only been going for a few months now but we are growing very quickly as our endeavors to reach out to people of all races in Africa gains momentum.”

Foreign charities and donors are doing a fantastic job trying to save the rhino and to help fund anti-poaching units, but at the end of the day, it is the grassroots people who make a difference. “I recently attended the Chiba Africa Forum and I came away realizing that China and Vietnam will probably never stop the demand, and even if they do, it will be too late for our wildlife.”  Alexia believes that it's time for grassroots education and action. “It is our fight now!” she exclaims.

“We have so many events planned, and as time goes by we will launch press releases and event invitations. Our team is run off their feet already. One person cannot do all of this alone.

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Assisting me are Henriette Eksteen, Allan Neill Thomas Mutukwa, and Sharon Hoole.”

Sam Nkomo was a young boy who spent his early years herding cattle in Zimbabwe. He dreamed of becoming a professional guide and wanted to do something to protect the animals he saw in the wilderness. He achieved that dream and is an award-winning professional guide and anti-poaching trainer.

Sam’s public recognition started in 2014 when he engaged in a 500km walk across Zimbabwe, to the Victoria Falls. His route took him to the Hwange National Park where the media had reported about the poisoning of elephants. At the time, Nikela #News quoted Sam as saying, “God gave Africa the gift of wildlife and we have a responsibility to look after them.

When Sam walks, he engages with communities along the route. The walk for SAFFR will start in March 2016, but there is a lot of preparation to be done. Alexia is excited. Sam will not undertake the walks alone she says. "Zelma, a white woman of some repute will walk with him and her details will be released to the press later.

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Of course, our supporters will join in the march as and when they are able. It's expected to take about a month to complete the walk."

When asked about the long-term goals, Alexia responds passionately: “It’s all about unifying African people to fight back: To stop all trade in wildlife at the source. This is about African Unity regarding African Wildlife. The success of this whole initiative will empower the Africans into realizing that the resources belong to them. If they are able to  stand up and fight back and be allowed to be involved in the decision-making process regarding their wildlife, that will be a victory. We anticipate people from all over the continent will walk this unity walk in the future.” 

There are going to be more events as the year unfolds, and media will be kept fully informed as they happen. “Media coverage is vital to our success,” concludes Alexia. #Buzz