Our struggle for the recognition of nature conservation as an invaluable field, worthy of investment from prominent figures as well as ordinary South Africans, has been a long and uphill path. Long before it became fashionable or politically correct to associate oneself with nature conservation efforts and ecological awareness, I walked with bold men and women looking to our collective future and seeking to preserve the rich natural heritage of South Africa for generations to come. Initially when I spoke about conserving our natural resources and protecting our fauna and flora, many thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill. When one stands in a seemingly full barn of corn, it is difficult to imagine that one day the barn may be empty. I thank God that today we are more aware of the risk involved in ignoring this inevitability if we turn our backs on the plaintive cry of nature.
The cry we are hearing today arises from a deepening separation between the habitat of man and the habitat of nature. The larger our cities become, the further away we grow from nature’s bounty. Concrete and glass, steel and tar separate us from grass and trees and open sky. Increasingly more of our children in South Africa are growing up in apartment buildings and developing outside the experience of climbing trees, observing birds and animals, playing in streams and picking flowers. It is no wonder that many of those who live in the city feel that nature happens elsewhere and will take care of itself if left to its own devices. As people who care for our heritage and our future, we know that everything we do, even in the heart of the city, affects the balance of our natural environment.
It is our character as men and women of vision, wisdom and sensibility that gathers us today to open the Centenary Game Capture Centre in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. I welcome those who have come to purchase animals during tomorrow’s game auction and also those who have come to...