Sibusiso Vilane stands up for Rhino

An event held at King Shaka International Airport on Monday the 23rd of June, saw the unveiling of the 15th rhino sculpture in the ‘Rhino Parade’ campaign. The Wildland’s Rhino Parade is an innovative fundraising campaign based on the internationally renowned Cow Parade concept. The campaign seeks to raise funding for, and increase awareness around the war on rhino poaching by getting truly great South African’s to adopt and help design a ¾ life size black rhino sculpture.

The sculpture unveiled on Monday was that of inspirational mountaineer, expedition guide and motivational speaker, Sibusiso Vilane. In 2005 Vilane became the first black person to summit Mount Everest from both sides. He then embarked on the Seven Summits Quest, which involves climbing the highest mountain on each continent, and was also the first black person to achieve this. Since his first ascent of Kilimanjaro in 1999, Sibusiso has summited that mountain 14 times, twelve of which have been guiding trips. Vilane has also run and completed 4 Comrades Marathons. He is truly inspirational.

“We are all born to win,” said Vilane. “I am inspired by all who strive for greatness regardless of their background. My favourite quote (and something I try live by) is by Zig Zigler – You can have everything in life you want if you can help as many people as possible to get what they want,” – said Vilane. Sibusiso is a selfless man that not only achieves great things, but inspires and helps others to dream big and achieve their dreams. Vilane has achieved what most considered impossible, and he hopes to contribute to the anti-poaching cause in a similar way – we CAN win this fight. “The Rhino poaching in our country is devastating; we must all come together, unite and fight to save our precious animals. If we work together to fight this challenge, then we can indeed save the Rhino for our future generations,” said Vilane.

“Sibusiso is a truly inspirational chap,” said Elizabeth-Ann Ross who designed Sibusiso’s rhino sculpture. “His open arms and broad smile tell you that he is a giver and wants the best for all who surround him. He has come from a very humble background and made a name for himself; not because he wanted to be rich and famous, but so that he could change the lives of others for the better. The climbing rope made into traditional-type jewellery on the sculpture, symbolises the protection of the horn, as it protects mountaineers, like Sibusiso, from falling on treacherous mountains,” commented Ross.

Wildlands Conservation Trust (the custodians of the Rhino Parade campaign) CEO, Dr Andrew Venter, was truly blown away by the contribution made by Vilane, as well as ACSA to the trusts conservation efforts. “We need more donors like King Shaka Airport that donate towards our conservation projects, especially for rhino,” said Dr Venter. “Unfortunately rhino poaching has become a stale topic for the media and public alike and we need to make it current again. It is more relevant now than ever, with statistics climbing daily.”

King Shaka International Airport has supported the Rhino Parade since 2012, not only through donations but also by “babysitting” these interesting sculptures in the terminal building. Colin Naidoo, Communications & Brand Manager at ACSA, said “We are very passionate about doing our part in protecting this critically endangered species. It is also an honour to be associated with such inspirational individuals like Sibusiso Vilane and also stand by his statement in us needing to UNITE to win this fight against poachers. We believe that the airport is a great platform to showcase the sculptures and send out a strong message about the protection of these magnificent animals”

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CEO of Wildlands, the NPO responsible for the Rhino Parade, standing with inspirational expedition guide, mountaineer and motivational speaker Sibusiso Vilane, together with his almost life size rhino sculpture. Photographer: Adi Weerheim

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L-R Busiko Muleya, Yvonne Maseko, Ven Moodley, Dr Andrew Venter (Wildlands), Nokuthula Mcinga, Sibusiso Vilane (Celebrity Rhino Ambassador), Jackie De Villiers and Slindile Zama of ACSA stand proudly next to the new addition to the Rhino Parade. Photographer: Adi Weerheim

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Sibusiso Vilane, rhino ambassador for the Wildland’s Rhino Parade campaign, together with graphic designer Elizabeth Ann – Ross, who designed this rhino to reflect the personality and achievements of this inspirational mountaineer and expedition guide. Photographer: Adi Weerheim