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Community Outreach

Swebeswebe Nature Reserve's primary goals are centered on the preservation and protection of our natural heritage. Simultaneously, we are dedicated to improving and educating the neighboring communities. Our mission involves nurturing a community deeply committed to conservation, working collectively to preserve our surroundings, and ensure the long-term well-being of wildlife. To further this mission, we actively collaborate with the Welgevonden Environmental Awareness Programme, organizing field camps for children to foster a stronger connection with nature.

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On the 11th of August 2023, WEAP carried out a field trip and camp on Swebeswebe Nature Reserve. The trip had been prearranged with the manager, Andre Nel, a couple of weeks prior. The camp was organised mainly for teenage girls, as we were still in commemoration of WEAP Girls’ month. We had asked and invited Ms Mphata Makakase, neurolinguistic practitioner, a businesswoman of note, a nature lover, philanthropist and a staunch advocate for a girl child. She was an integral part of this camp.

We left Vaalwater just before 3pm on Friday, and made our way North. We arrived on the reserve just after 5pm, and met by friendly faces that we are familiar with. We loaded up, bags on the bakkie and our precious cargo on the game viewer, and immediately made for the campsite. The tents were already set up for us, firewood stacked and utensils packed. We immediately prepared supper, had a campfire session and sealed the night off with some stargazing.

On the Saturday morning we drove up to the ever-breath-taking Baboon Caves, where we spent the whole day. We did a short mountain hike, with lessons including birding, the water cycle, geology and ecosystems. We had a presentation on rock paintings, or rock at, as usual. I emphasized why such places need to be protected and cared for properly. These ancient texts have been there through the years, so that we can observe and learn from them, so it is very important that we preserve them for those coming after us.

After such a heavy lesson, our guests took a dip in the rejuvenating waters at the bottom of the valley. That part is always fun. We all had lunch on the rocky riverbed in the company of bird songs, away from the rush of township life.

The best part of it though was the sessions that our guest had with the girls. I can unfortunately not say much, as I was chased away, because of my chromosomes. The girls each received a letter from our guest, which was each written by a prominent woman in her circle. These contained messages of love and motivation, encouraging resilience in chasing the dream. The girls then had a one-on-one session with her, which included a lot of very long hugs, much-needed hugs by the looks of things.

Overall, we had an amazing weekend camp, as usual. Swebeswebe Nature Reserve has been an important stakeholder to WEAP, and we really are able to pursue our mandate because of organizations like you. Over the past few years, your unwavering support has been a key ingredient in the pursuit for environmental education. We soar because we stand on the shoulders of places like yours.

For your consistency in nurturing us as an entity, in the quest for Environmental Education, we can never really thank you enough. The deep-rooted belief that we need to educate the young ones, by exposing them, to prepare them to handle our planet better, can be seen clearly in your support for us, and it is not unnoticed. Together, we remain strong and progressive.

Thank you.

Moji Kitsi

WEAP (Welgevonden Environmental Awareness Programme)

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