INTRODUCING ISSUE #217
Stories for readers who give a damn
*Cover – the relentless killing of our elephants, and what we can do about it * Interview with international treasure David Attenborough * Cape Flats boys tell us why they get involved in dog-fighting * The quiet South African who’s big in Hollywood * The hope is in the soil – Khayelitsha’s oldest market gardening project is making a big difference *
WE have to defend our wildlife heritage. Since 1979 poaching has reduced the elephant population from 1,3 million to around 460 000. And the cruelty involved is deeply worrying – for example, with stories that elephants giving birth have been gunned down and the recent poisoning of 100 elephants at a waterhole in Hwange in Zimbabwe. Specialist journalist Don Pinnock has written an in-depth piece for The Big Issue on the international trade in wildlife parts – its effects on Africa and where the solutions might lie. China, he says, remains the biggest problem for elephants, and the Environmental Protection Agency has called for China’s status as a CITES-approved buyer of ivory to be revoked. The United States, last year the second-largest ivory trading nation after China, offered a ray of light when it recently announced a total ban on all ivory trade to and from the country as well as between states.
He may be 87, but David Attenborough shows little sign of slowing down. He worked through the night for seven weeks to make his latest TV show, Natural History Museum Alive. He worries, he says, that television is losing ambition, losing the zest to tackle the hard things.
The Big Issue talks to young Bonteheuwel boys about why they get involved in the cruelty of dog-fighting. It’s the money, they say. And the reputation you gain if your dog is a killer. Plus the excitement. Psychologists though, think there’s more to it…
The former child of District Six has been writing music for movies for decades, with over 100 movies to his credit. Now on the jury for the Oscars and the Baftas, he’s come back to his home country and is contributing to Music Exchange 2014, a music, film and entertainment conference at the City Hall from March 6 to 9. Who knew that a South African wrote music for Notting Hill, Mississippi Burning and The Last of the Mohicans, to name a few?
Christine Kaba is operations director at Khayelitsha’s oldest market gardening project. Now 24 years old, Abalimi Bezekhaya offers employment, purpose and an income to at least 3000 people, through farming 30 hectares of land in about 100 community gardens and 3000 home gardens. They sell their produce through Harvest Of Hope, which distributes boxes of organic vegetables through Cape Town.
Cynthia Gogotya’s story – from a Big issue vendor to a social worker. Cynthia is proof that opportunities provided by The Big Issue, both through providing an income and through the social work outreach side of the project, make a difference.
Thelma Jack, our Vendor of the Month, was very scared when she started out at The Big Issue. She supports a husband ill with TB as well as three children. Now, she’s proud of being a vendor at her pitch in Buitengracht Street and her day is made when she sells 10 copies.
Big up to Cynthia and Thelma! Real life stories from the street: that’s what The Big Issue likes to share.