7th Aug, 2017

Written by Ronel de Villiers, Founding Member of Rescue Rehab SA

Photography by Alfred Benz Photography

#whereswillie is a fund-raising campaign for the African Tails project: Mending Mamre.

The Willie in question is Willie Richards of single-trackTM, avid runner, advocate for healthy living and a man who lives by his motto: “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”. Since 2007, Willie has been participating in long-distance duathlons and triathlons for charitable causes, each time pushing himself further.

Blouberg to Blouberg

In October 2017, Willie will be attempting his most remarkable duathlon yet: running and cycling over 1700km from Blouberg, Namibia, to Blouberg, Cape Town, raising money to complete phases two and three of Project Mending Mamre.

What makes Willie’s feat even tougher is that he spends most of his working days on an oil rig off the Angolan coast, so even his daily training routine for #whereswillie is unique.

Willie originally contacted Rescue Rehab SA in order to assist in finding a worthy project to support and facilitate; African Tails was selected.

RRSA’s focus is to uplift the current state of struggling animal welfare organisations, as well as underprivileged communities in South Africa, by investing in the upskilling of and sharing knowledge with their staff and volunteers; implementing custom solutions to assist them in making their organisations self-sustaining, effective and financially secure is part of RRSA’s aim.

Mending Mamre

African Tails is a Non-profit Animal Welfare (NPO) organisation based in Milnerton, Cape Town, focusing on mass sterilisation of animals in rural and disadvantaged areas. In March 2017, they launched their latest sterilisation campaign in the tiny West Coast agricultural town of Mamre.

Uncontrolled breeding and unwanted litters are only the symptomatic result. To make a sterilisation campaign successful one needs to go to the root of the problem. For this reason, African Tails partnered with FOUR PAWS South Africa, who launched an educational campaign in Mamre, not only for children, but for adults as well. This campaign includes basic good horsemanship, animal husbandry and, importantly, sowing the seed of compassion. Teaching children to have empathy for living creatures not only betters the lives of the animals they encounter, it also builds and strengthens a community for years to come. African Tails also tries to improve the living conditions of animals not only by education but also by empowering communities through the distribution of kennels, food and medical care for animals where needed.

In phase 1 of Project Mending Mamre, 388 animals were sterilised, 1200 people reached through education, 200 kennels distributed and many animals medically treated or placed up for adoption. With an estimated pet population of 4000 animals, it is evident that African Tails will be active in Mamre for quite some time, as the goal is to sterilise at least 70% of the town’s breeding pet population.

The community of Mamre, both animals and people, will reap the benefits from this campaign for many years to come. For this reason, Willie decided that this was the project with which he wanted to get involved.

For more information about #whereswillie and to get access to videos and images, contact: whereswillie@africantails.co.za.

Donations are appreciated to make a real difference for the animals of Mamre; please visit: www.givengain.com/cc/whereswillie

Please contact info@rrsa.org.za for information on how to join the RRSA CREW to get involved with future projects.