Linda Tucker is the founder and CEO of
The Global White Lion Protection Trust
as well as the Linda Tucker Trust
that is organizing the "One United Roar" campaign.
There is an African proverb that states:
"Until the lion learns to speak,
the story will always be told from the hunters perspective"
One United Roar, is finally giving the lions the opportunity to have a voice.
And especially the White Lions that CITES wants to downgrade.
With only 12 in the world, you would imagine that
an international organization such as that would be at the forefront
of the fight to save these "special" lions.
But it seems that commercial greed will once again be the victor,
rather than conservation.
However, that is only MY opinion and NOT that
of either TGWLPT or TLTF.
While on my recent visit to The Unicorn camp,
I was privileged to be part of the launch of the O.U.R campaign.
The day's events started out with a "traditional" lunch,
cooked and served from this line of pots.
There is an art to cooking in a pot over an open fire,
and my thanks and appreciation go to the ladies of the community
who served up a most delicious lunch.
Our meal was served outdoors,
the food being dished up at the base of this "baby" Baobab tree
and we were able to sit and eat in the shade of a giant Fig tree.
This was lunch!
I enjoyed my first serving so much that I went back
for a second helping of the vegetables.
Part of the anti-poaching unit that is tasked with taking care of the lions.
Unfortunately there has been a surge in the sale of lion bones
for "medicinal" purposes and the White Lions are under threat
of being poached for those.
Part of the one of the schools that would be taking part in
the ceremony later in the day.
Known as "Starlions" these little ones
will be speaking for the lions in future generations
It is probably too late for my generation
to make a difference, but we need to be the mentors to the upcoming
youth who will hold the fate of all our wildlife in their hands.
A "stick fight" using socks!
Obviously, there was very little danger of the fellows actually
hurting each other, but fun was the name of the game.
Lots of dust and laughter...
This converted garage/storeroom was transformed
in order to host the guests and the media for a presentation.
Dee Lou, who had organised our media trip,
plays "Pied Piper" to a group of Star Lions.
Urban legend tells us that the White Lions
are actually messengers from the gods
The event was opened by a prayer from Archbishop Emritas Desmond Tutu:
His words were emotive and compelling
and should be available to ALL South Africans to listen to and
be inspired to become the "voice for the voiceless".
On the way to the ceremony, which was in walking distance for the adults
but too far for these youngsters to walk to.
This little girl had been sitting next to me at the presentation
and was fascinated by my tattoo. She kept touching it
to see if it was real...
I was not expecting to see a "wire and sheet" representation
of the Big 5...
The Lion had been carried down from the presentation
area by more students.
Linda Tucker and a local Shangaan traditional healer,
walk into the area where the launch ceremony will be performed.
Groups of dancers ululated and entertained the crowd that
had been invited to be part of an audience for the evenings events.
The Shangaan Sangoma (traditional healer) lit a small fire in order to
make certain that the ancestors were in agreement with
what was about to take place.
Drummers drummed and the sounds rolled up through the valley
we were in and hopefully their message was distributed far and wide.
More of the older performers who took part.
This was not a show for tourists,this was a heartfelt
plea from the local community to all who would listen.
The students from local schools performed poets and monolouges,
and even a short play to depict the plight of the White Lions.
I found myself with a lump in my throat,
and a tear in my eye as I listened to their message.
The One United Roar Talent Challenge is now open!
Two groups are eligable for prizes,
under 15 and 16-21.
They can express themselves in any creative form in order to be the voice of the lions.
Entries close on 15 September.
6 lucky winners and their chaperones will be flown to South Africa
and be heard at the CITES Convention in Johannesburg.
They will all be given the opportunity to spend time
at The Global White Lion Project Trust as well
as enjoying some of the sights and sounds that our country has to offer
To find out more about this competition
and the work that GWLPT as well as the LTT does,
All of the images on this posting were shot on
a Canon SX60HS.
Travel & Things is written on a