Fundraising gala dinner by the Limpopo Rhino Security Group (LRSG) in Polokwane.

JOHANNESBURG - Pupils from the French school, Lycée Jules Verne, in Sandton in Johannesburg have donated artworks to raise funds at a recent gala event hosted by the Limpopo Rhino Security Group (LRSG) based in Polokwane.

“The LRSG is overwhelmed by the generous support we’ve received from individuals, schools, shopping centres and big corporates alike. Our gala dinner was an immense success and we are thrilled that so many share our passion for safeguarding the future of our rhinos,” said Carmela Lattanzi, a member of the LRSG.

As a long-time supporter and curator of school art, the Morningside shopping centre invited Lycée Jules Verne to exhibit their latest creative project at the mall with the aim of educating youngsters about the plight rhinos face due to poaching.

"During the exhibition, the impressively scaled rhino sculpture caught the attention of the LRSG, leading to Morningside shopping centre coordinating the process that would eventually see the art go on auction to lend a helping hand to the organisation’s ongoing anti-poaching and conservation efforts," said Morningside manager Sharon Henry.

Henry said the centre was delighted to have played a role in not only displaying the talents of young artists but also assist them in raising funds for a cause so close to their hearts.

From left to right: Mrs Sonia DOÑA PEREZ, the French Consul General in Johannesburg, Mr Stéphane POLLACK, Headmaster of the French Primary School at Lycée Jules Verne and Mrs Emmanuelle Marqui, Principal of the Lycée Jules Verne.

“It is hugely gratifying to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the the French school Lycée Jules Verne and the LRSG, and we are especially pleased that great art is being used in the service of this very worthy cause.”
The centre said a colourful larger-than-life papier-mâché rhinoceros, together with 42 beautifully decorated smaller rhinos were on auction at a special fundraiser of the LRSG – a voluntary collective of private rhino owners dedicated to the protection and conservation of one of South Africa’s most severely endangered species.

“Providing support to private rhino custodians is vitally important to ensuring these majestic creatures are around for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. We are especially moved by the genuine concern children and young students show for rhino conservation," said Lattanzi.

The centre said that in November 2014 the LRSG had become one of the country’s most successful private rhino owner associations by ensuring that 100 percent of all funds received went towards making a direct and meaningful impact on rhino conservation through the purchase of cutting-edge equipment and technology, in combination with other anti-poaching security measures.

"The thoughtful artistic efforts of the the French school Lycée Jules Verne and the kind assistance of Morningside Shopping Centre is just one example of what is possible when people join forces and speak up for those who do not have a voice of their own,” Lattanzi said.

African News Agency/ANA