The future of our Oceans, the life force of our planet, is under serious threat. A new era in conservation has started. A significant shift from awareness to action has begun. Time is not on our side, but the will to make a difference is.
On Wednesday, 2 December 2009, 430 learners from 14 high schools and junior schools from the South Peninsula, including 30 learners from COSAT in Khayelitsha, walked 8km in howling South Easter winds along a stretch of the coast from Muizenberg to Glencairn.
This AOCA initiative brought together the support of a number of governmental and non governmental organizations including SOS Shark Centre, SANCCOB, Dolphin Action Protection Group, Centre for Conservation Education, Kelp Environmental Learning Project, Seal Alert SA, Table Mountain National Park, City of Cape Town (YES programme), Jungle Theatre, Baboon Matters, Metrorail, NSRI, Western Cape Education Department, Science Education Resources Initiative, SA Navy, KEAG, Whale of a Heritage Route, REEF, Bright Weights, Pisces Divers, and Shark Lady Adventures.
The hike began with a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony at Surfers Corner at Muizenberg to set off 100 learners dressed in the resplendent sea blue AfriOceans Warriors T-shirts and caps. The blustery South Easter could not dampen the enthusiasm of the long line of learners as they chanted ‘Save the Oceans, Save the Sharks!’ while displaying their hand painted banners.
After a tiring but exhilarating hike walking through the historic coastal villages of St. James, Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek, the hikers arrived at the seaside village of Glencairn for the closing ceremony and the symbolic handing over of the AfriOceans Warriors Scrolls, by the two lead schools, Muizenberg High and Muizenberg Junior.
In closing Lesley Rochat thanked everyone for their exceptional efforts and shared some of the highlighted environmental issues, including climate change, overfishing, and poaching and poor fisheries management, contained in the hugely symbolic scrolls that were then handed over to the invited dignitaries by the learners. Thereafter, and thanks to the fantastic generosity and commitment of Metrorail, a free ride home by train was a welcome relief for the weary hikers, as they chatted and shared photos on their cell phones and swapped stories about their historic adventure as young AfriOceans Warriors.
The Save Our Seas Shark Centre was proud to be associated with such a well organized and well supported initiative and we look forward to playing a significant part in the extended AfriOceans Campaign in 2010.
Terry Corr, Save our Seas Shark Centre