The Kruger National Park's (KNP) outreach project "Take Kruger to 'Kasies" was officially launched on January 20, 2006 at Mkhuhlu Shopping Complex near Hazyview by the KNP's Head of People and Conservation, Helen Mmethi.
"It is fitting that the community of Mkhuhlu should witness the official launch of this project as the KNP forms such a huge portion of the lives of the people that live here," said Helen.
At the function, the Regional Manager of the Southern Business Unit of the KNP, Nasiwe Nelani presented Nyiko Mhubunga (16) with a prize for his efforts as he drew the winning entry that has been used as artwork on the side of the "Take Kruger to Kasies" buses. The Park received more than 400 entries in the competition.
Young artist Nyiko, a grade 11 pupil from Makhosana High School in Mkhuhlu, responded to a call from the KNP's People and Conservation Department to "depict by drawing or sketching your understanding of conservation and people's involvement in environmental management".
His obvious creativity and hard work paid dividends and he went home today the proud owner of a brand new art kit, a KNP golf shirt and a night in one of the KNP's big camps with an environmental education tour of the KNP's facilities with three of his friends.
Second place winner, Muxe Nkuna (14), a grade eight pupil from Mandondo High School at Belfast Trust and third place winner Smanga Msibi (19), a grade 12 pupil from Lugebhuta High School at Schoemansdal Trust, will also take home art kits and other prizes.
"As it is our role to get the message of conservation to the people living outside the KNP, we believe the art competition was a great way to help get this message across and this artwork has been immortalised on the side of these vehicles for everyone to see," said Helen.
The KNP's People and Conservation Department's role is to go out into the communities and spread the message of conservation among the communities living within a 30km radius from the boundaries of the Park as they are one of the most important stakeholders.
Helen said it was obvious that many of the children who took part in the competition had never been in Kruger as they drew gardens and other unlikely scenery as part of the Park's environment. "This project will be very important for Kruger," she said.