The Burning Rhino project is an Andries Botha Foundation (123-757 NPO) project. As the project develops, certain strategic partners will be invited to join the project.
Dear Fellow Citizen,
I dedicate this project and work to the children that are now alive and those that will be born in my lifetime.
I am a sculptor, some of my latest work registers my concerns about the declining health of the Planet. In order to do this I have had to leave the cocoon of the gallery for the more combustible public space. I soon learnt that this is a messy but necessary
place to engage if you want to enter into meaningful debate about public issues that impact on all of us. It has required me to renegotiate the private zone of creativity and to acknowledge the relevance of collective action to bring about change and shifts in human sensibility and
I, and the most of us, are addicted to fossil fuels despite the well documented dangers attached. Those are well documented and now form part of the “Planet in Peril” narratives that frame these debates, interests and politics of our generation.
Shortly before Dr. Ian Player died he told me that our endangered planet had entered the collective unconscious. I became fascinated by this assumption and have long pondered how I could work with this important idea. The endangered planet and species has been an old bad
news story for a long, long time. Countless dedicated thinkers/dreamers have tirelessly repeated this truth. Well, in my life time the world has simply continually deteriorated, despite all the available information and data. Endless reams of knowledge and wisdom, thousands of conferences, countless pieces of legislation have not stemmed the glide of destruction of our natural heritage.
If the wounded planet has indeed entered our sub-conscious, it seems to be captured there. How then can we move it into the conscious and into the daily practice of
our modernity? This is a compelling challenge for us all, I guess. But, power, money, government, certain intellectual and political positions, me, you, we all continue to sing from the same old familiar but destructive hymn sheet.
I would like to share a very simple idea and realisation with you. In my life time we have shifted from a literary to a visual intelligence. The electronic highway and new media have compacted and distributed information on a new and unprecedented scale. The notion of modernity
is no longer a part of a traditional knowledge system but rather reflects and responds to your ability to be stylishly plugged into innumerable number of variable sound bytes of information and social platforms. Identity has shifted into the virtual, where sound and image have
bumped the word and reasoned idea to the back pages of boredom. This realisation is not my personal anti-intellectual position but rather my acknowledgement that a number of new opportunities to communicate differently have presented themselves in multiple new platforms
using languages that are now seen and heard, mostly by younger people.
A visual image is a complex metaphor that carries multiple pieces of information in an emotionally tangible manner. Music powerfully invokes and reframes the past and present with individual and collective memory. Poetry frames personal experiences in a number of ways
and describes our vast complex range of thoughts and feelings on multiple levels. These images, sounds, words and ideas are all sources of information that are now „borrowed“ to become part of new personal identities created on the electronic highway. Individuality, personal intelligence and knowledge is now reframed and branded as interesting or attractive Facebook sites. And so on…
Whether I like it or not is irrelevant. I want to simply acknowledge this reality as an opportunity to communicate differently. At the same time, I acknowledge that this new evolving technology will be the only way I will be able to communicate my information to a different and
younger audience. That is to people of and in the future I am struggling to imagine.
Okay. This is what I have done:
I have sculpted a rhinoceros out of metal rods in collaboration with fellow sculptor, Ernest Ngcobo
I intend to pack this rhino with alien wood (wattle)and coal and set the rhino alight and have it filmed while it burns. We will burn it somewhere in the Natal Midlands during December 2016. We have chosen the Midlands because Government has recently granted permission to Texas-based exploration company Rhino Resources, to explore for oil and gas underneath a 1 500 000ha belt of land that includes 10 000 farms in the central part of KZN. In addition to this, South Africa continues to commit itself to coal as an energy source.
Recent exploration rights on the border of the iMfolozi Game Reserve are a case in point. It is ironic that this is where Dr. Player and his team brought the white rhino back from extinction. We will then open up a social media platform utilizing these Burning Rhino images to mobilize public support against these initiatives as well as creating lobbies to continue research and development for alternative renewable forms of energy.
I want to acknowledge the potential reach of public media platforms to mobilise the public to pressure Government to continue applying resources towards sustainable energy research. Equally to lobby for renewable energy sources and that these commitments be put into law and actively pursued as implementable policy. Most importantly, that our reliance on fossil fuel (coal, oil ) fracking/mining be phased out within a declared time frame.
These powerful visual images of the burning of a ancient endangered life form (rhino), will speak to the interests of many concerned South Africans and global citizens. Launching of this campaign on various social media platforms embraces the possibility of a global audience
with shared interests and concerns about the impact of fossil fuels on our changing planet.
I am inviting you in your private, collective or corporate capacity to join this campaign, to apply pressure to your various governments and decision makers for constructive transformation of our fossil fuel addiction. To seek , promote and support the research and development
for more sustainable, affordable alternative natural energy sources and to urgently and fiercely protect our dwindling natural habitat.
WHAT I WANT YOU TO SUPPORT
I have included a modest manufacturing and operational budget which I ask you to support. See attached. Kindly note that because of the nature of this project, I have waivered my own artists fee. It is also not my intention to lobby for support beyond the completion of the manufacture, burning , filming of the rhino and hosting of the internet site. We will however continue lobbying you to support our nominated eco activists . The proposed website will expand on these options.
This is what we are going to do:
- We will build the rhino (done).
- We will transport it to the Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal.
- We will load the rhino with wood and coal and set it alight.
- We will professionally film the entire process
- We will produce a thirty minute film version.
- We will develop and implement a series of social media platforms for a period of two months.
- We will saturate those platforms with film footage of the burning rhino.
- We will create a short list of the principle NGO‘s, individuals and organisations that currently lead in the anti fossil fuel lobby.
- We will request you to support these organisations and individuals directly by assisting them with the important work that they do.
- We will, if necessary, or requested, link you directly to them.
This campaign explores the potential for collective creativity and imagination to be harnessed as an effective tool to lobby for sustainable and life affirming change in our lifetime.
Thank you for your time and support.
I need to be completely transparent and thorough with all the public monies we collect on behalf of the Burning Rhino project. In that respect all our financial regulations and tax benefits, including Section 18A tax-deductible certificates will be offered by our strategic partner
in this project, the Charity and Welfare Foundation.
All donations must be directed to Mr. Hoosen Agjee, care of:
Account Name: Charity and Welfare Foundation
Bank: Standard Bank
Account Number: 255417764
Bank Number: Overport City – 043 826