Wild Is Life: One By One, Elephant Strong

Last week Footprints attended Wild is Life‘s “One by One, Elephant Strong” exhibition, an art initiative that raises awareness about elephants while raising much needed funds forZimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA) and Friends of Hwange Trust


I didn’t need any encouragement to visit one of my favourite places around Harare. Whenever  possible I take overseas visitors to Wild is Life, where they get to meet kudu, impala, giraffe, vervet monkeys, ostriches, a sable named Jack, Noodle the wildebeest, Pickles the warthog, a variety of lions and lionesses and Marimba the pangolin… as well as enjoying a sumptuous afternoon tea and delicious sundowners overlooking a tranquil natural park!


Leslie Johnson’s “Flighty”


Ingrid Tucker’s “Shungu”


The Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN) is an integral part of Wild is Life. As a lifelong elephant lover this is my favourite part of any visit to Roxy Danckwerts’ animal sanctuary; I never get tired of watching elephants! These little orphans have been given a second chance at life, and they have formed a close family unit that sees them taking care of and supporting each other, which will stand them in good stead when they are released back into the wild in the not too distant future.


Jenny Galbraith’s “Otis the Ellie”


Marlene Bornman’s “Flame and Lily”


On arrival at the exhibition, we were handed a delicious cocktail and a map of Wild is Life, together with numbered stickers. Each sticker represented a piece of art, and we were tasked with placing the relevant sticker on each artwork’s location. Sadly my map-reading skills are best handled by my Garmin, which meant my map was not handed in at the end of the day!


Lin Barrie’s “Amai Chiedza and Chiedza”.


Using recycled metal/tin, Zimbabwe welders and artists created the endearing sculptures. Twenty four Zimbabwean artists personalised each sculpture with their own art and designs, resulting in a colourful display of one of Zimbabwe’s (and Africa’s) most iconic animals. Each unique elephant was perfectly positioned in Wild is Life’s lovely gardens, and many photographs were taken by the several hundred people attending this excellent exhibition.


Bruce Johnson’s “Copper Kid”


Before tracking down the elephant sculptures I was able to meet Molly, the sanctuary’s newest baby. I first saw Molly shortly after she arrived at Wild is Life in October; she had stood up for the first time since her arrival and was walking in tiny circles, accompanied by two handlers, one of whom was holding a drip. She was orphaned, traumatised and injured after her mother was killed in a hunting accident. The love and care given to Molly by both the Wild is Life staff and her new elephant family – they’ve been instrumental in getting this little girl walking in a straight path – is testament to the dedication the sanctuary gives to its precious charges.


Guests admire John Kotze’s “Dishy Mom and Dishy Babe”


After identifying and admiring all the beautifully decorated elephant sculptures we went to the hospitality area.  The baby elephants arrived, with Matabele waving the Zimbabwe flag held carefully in his trunk! They drank their milk and ate their cabbages, bedtime slightly delayed by Moyo – Wild is Life’s very first baby elephant – insisting on rushing over to see her many admirers!


Some of the guests enjoying excellent Wild is Life hospitality!

The day ended with visitors enjoying sundowners, excellent sushi and a brilliant Zimbabwean sunset, accompanied by relaxing music provided by the Prince Edward School Jazz Band.

“One by One, Elephant Strong” is supported by Birdwoods and Kiki’s Gallery.  The auction is continuing, with bidding open until Christmas. The elephant sculptures can be viewed online, and anyone interested in bidding is invited to do so, by either sending an SMS to +263774155171 or a message to “One by One. Elephant Strong“, with the following details:

  • Your name.
  • Your bid (the reserved place is visible on the auction page next to each sculpture).
  • The name of your chosen artist/elephant.

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