Hundreds volunteer at SPCA for Mandela Day
Animals jumped for joy on 25 July, as more than 300 local pupils visited the Grahamstown SPCA in honour of Mandela Day. Learners took part in various activities that taught them the importance of environmentalism, animal care and sustainable agriculture.
“Today has been all about community engagement, which is what the SPCA is all about”, said Manager, Mark Thomas.
Pupils from PJ Olivier Hoerskool and St Andrew’s Prep came in their numbers, bringing donations of food and blankets, as well as their smiles.
Hendrien Coetzee, a teacher from PJ, accompanied her Grade 6 Life Skills pupils to teach them more about animal care. “I thought it was a good idea to come here and see what is the purpose, the history. [The SPCA] must tell my children what is the purpose, what are they allowed to do, and how can we help the community.”
“We also have to serve,” said Coetzee. “We can’t just sit back and receive, we have to serve as well.”
Edward Gaybba of Rededward Gaybba of Redbeard Permaculture spoke to each group of learners about the importance of sustainable farming.
“Where does water come from?”, he asked them. One child replied, “From tanks!”.
“What do vegetables eat?” he then asked.
Much to the children’s surprise, they learned that vegetables ‘eat’ animal poop... and they eat the vegetables!
“One of the things I try and inculcate in the children of today is to show them that you must always question the education that you are provided. We find more and more everyday that it’s half-truths, it’s not the whole story,” said Gaybba.
Highlights from the day included feeding the friendly donkeys apples and carrots, as well as reading books to some very attentive dogs and cats.
“It’s so important for us to work with the generation of the future as well as the generation of current times,” said Thomas. “We’re constantly dealing with mistakes that have been made as a result of cultural divides, and that causes a huge amount of problems and stigmatisation for animals.”
“Overall I’ve been very pleased with today,” he said.
A St Andrew’s Prep pupil gets to know one of the SPCA donkeys.