2007 Diary of Campaign trip to Johannesburg
CAMPAIGN AGAINST CANNED HUNTING.
Saturday, 10 February 2007
REPORT ON JOHANNESBURG CAMPAIGN WEEK ~ FEBRUARY 2007
Flew George to Joburg and arrived midday. Laura met me and drove us to Joburg Country Club in Auckland Park for a Rotary luncheon. Mike was there and helped me set up the audiovisual equipment. Mainly German South Africans, this was a supportive group who bought 7 books and all signed the letters of protest. Afterwards, Mike drove me to the Garden Court Hotel, Sandton, and half an hour later Ina collected me for the meeting at Moyo Zoo Lake. About 80 people in attendance for the public meeting. First I gave them the canned hunting presentation then after half an hour of question and answer I showed the video of our work at the KRC. Many useful contacts were made. Katy Roberts will join the Joburg team and help out as required. Game capture experts Dr. Hym Ebedes and Vivienne Bassi were there, and Vivienne will do a supporting talk on animal welfare aspects of game capture at our next public meeting. Erika Saunders, marketing manager of Maropeng, an upmarket tourism facility at the Cradle of Mankind, will sponsor prizes for the golf day and make her facility available for any future public meetings. Mark Sampson, the comedian who acted as MC for the meeting, tells me he is friendly with the most popular SA music group Freshly Ground and will try to organise a fund raiser in Cape Town for the campaign. If he succeeds, it will not only raise the profile of the Campaign but make it ‘cool’ for the younger generation.
We are still trying to find a winning formula for public meetings. Some of the lessons leaned at Moyo Zoo Lake are:-
1. Without celebrity involvement public meetings will not work really well and we are better off addressing media personnel, groups within civic society and corporates.
2. We charge an entrance fee in future for any function at which drinks and snacks are provided. Even though useful contacts were made and some 80 people were reached at Moyo, the price of R2,500 for snacks and facilities was not cost effective.
3. Although we must be innovative and imaginative in attracting people to our venues, comedy is incompatible with our message. Poor Mark Sampson failed miserably at that meeting and only succeeded in irritating people. Our serious message cannot degenerate into a variety show.
4. Beverley suggests that in future at any meeting which shows both the canned hunting presentation as well as the video footage of the KRC, we should show the rehab footage first to tell the audience who we are and what we have done for wildlife before getting down to the serious message of canned hunting.
MARLEI PLEASE NOTE.
Ina advises that she has experience with the Vodacom five- digit fund raiser number and she says that in practice it does not work. So forget it and phone Ina if you need to discuss it.
8.30 am with Michelle Konstant, the SAFM Radio 2000 presenter and journalist at Zoo Lake. Michelle recorded a lengthy interview with me over a period of 2 hours and her photographer took photographs at the same time. She will give the campaign much needed publicity.
Mike then collected me to take me to the venue in Oxford Road for the presentation to Hillbrow Rotary Club. People bought books and every one signed the letter of protest all of which will be posted by us to the Minister at the end of the week together with a covering letter from the Campaign to reiterate how many people in civil society are opposed to trophy hunting.
A free afternoon so I went back to the Garden Court Hotel to catch up on some rest before the evening presentation at the Bryanston Country club.
This was a lavish affair with 30 to 40 Rotarians from two Rotary Districts in attendance. A good meeting. One of the members was from Reuters News Agency and he took my card and promised to get his office to take up the matter.
This was the most important day by far. From 9am to 11.30am Ina Laura and myself strategised with Stuart Walsh and Shelley at Geoff Advertising Agency in Rivonia. They needed to ascertain our campaign objectives, values, target market and other information so that they could work on building the campaign into a strong brand. Laura then drove me to Joburg Zoo where I addressed Zoo staff at the Education Centre. The address was filmed by CNN, with well- known CNN presenter Femi Oke present. We had to cut this meeting short in order to get to Radio 702 in Sandton for the live radio talk with presenter Jenny Crwys- Williams. (Athalie got me there in good time even if she included a scenic visit to Houghton between Zoo and Sandton!) Femi and her CNN camera man followed us and were admitted into the 702 studio where they filmed the whole one hour session. During the phone-ins I was subjected on air to hostile questioning by abusive hunters. This was not a pleasant, easy talk but it had the great advantage that it introduced Femi Oke to the closed minds of the South African hunting community. She told me afterwards how shocked she had been to hear such ethically illiterate points of view expressed.
3.30 pm we left 702 and all went back to the Garden Court Hotel where Femi recorded a further one on one interview with me which lasted a full two hours. Femi is very intelligent and supportive and seemed to understand the complexities of the situation, asking some very penetrating questions. She is going to talk to canned lion breeders (I emailed her names and contact details ) and also to Minister Van Schalkwyk and intends to make this a big CNN story.
CNN left at 5.30pm and Mike picked me up 30mins later to go to Chez Gerard in Rivonia Road for the evening presentation to Rotary. This was unusual - a French speaking Rotary club at a French Restaurant, with proceedings in French. The vegetarian dish I was given (Laura in her efficient way made sure that every single Rotary club provided me with vegetarian food) was to die for. Everyone signed the letter of protest.
9.30pm Arrived back at the Hotel.
Three presentations at different Rotary Clubs, breakfast, lunch and evening. Ran out of protest letters. CNN photographer Graham wanted yet more footage (as if 5 hours was not enough!) and attended the midday presentation at Old Edwardians.
Spoke to Angus Begg, Carte Blanche producer and journalist, about a story based upon the lies told by the Minister about the effect of the new hunting regulations.
Checked out of Garden Court Hotel, the CACH account R3,200 lighter.
Ina drove me to the meeting with Dan Swanepoel and Andrew at the Wellness Centre in order to plan for the Golf day on May 3rd at Dainfern Golf Club.
Dan is a former captain at Dainfern, with important contacts in the golf and corporate world. Ina will take responsibility for organising this important event, which will raise our visibility in a non-shrill, non threatening manner. Between Dan, his wife Janet, and Andrew, it is apparent that we will be able to fill half the field of four balls from their contacts alone. This takes much of the burden off Ina’s shoulders.
I am confident that the golf day will be a huge success, and earn enough money to run the campaign in Joburg for at least six months. We want this golf day to become an annual event.
At 12am the meeting ended and Ina drove me to Wanderers Sports Club for the final presentation of the week. This was a large Rotary group, very sympathetic, and in his vote of thanks the President stated that ours was the best presentation that his Rotary club had ever seen. They promised full support with the golf day and bought several books.
At 2.15pm Mike drove me out to the airport to catch the flight home.
You can see from the above what an exciting and valuable week this has been for the campaign. Thanks are due to the Joburg Team for the meticulous organisation and for all the hard work which made it such a success. With such a strong team we can only go from strength to strength. We must also thank Shelley and Stuart at Geoff Advertising for giving us so much of their time and expertise on a pro bono basis.
I have a week of rest before travelling to Cape Town for a week of campaigning with Marlei.