15 March 2005
My Acre of Africa is a unique initiative to raise funds for the preservation of southern Africa’s wildlife and wild lands, as well as for a remarkable environmental education facility to be built in the Kruger Park, one of the world’s greatest wildlife reserves.
Individuals and organisations from all over the world can buy bricks for the paths, camps and rivers of the Environmental Life Centre.
To be built at the Kruger Park’s Albasini Gate, the centre will comprise specialised conservation education resources incorporated within a detailed, scale-model, relief map of the Kruger National Park – sized so that visitors can walk the entire area in less than a day.
This “living map” will replicate the park in miniature: the park borders; the land area with all its varying topography and natural vegetation; sites of historical and archaeological significance; rivers and dams; tourist camps and park entrance gates, and the road network.
A major part of the replica-map will be natural bushveld – planted under the direct supervision of SANParks and Kruger scientists, with different vegetation indigenous to Kruger.
Nelson Mandela, patron-in-chief of My Acre of Africa
Through this natural bush, “pathways” of different coloured, natural clay and granite paving bricks will be laid out – each colour being coded to a different feature of the park: border, road network, rivers, camps and entrance gates.
Each brick will represent an acre of Africa – specifically, one of Kruger’s 4 692 914 acres – so the pathways will be made up of nearly five million natural clay and granite bricks.
By visiting this “Kruger in microcosm”, visitors will be able to formulate a complete sense of one of the world’s greatest national parks.
The aim is for the centre to be visited by each South African child at least once during his or her school career. Spread over 110 acres, the centre will educate children about the importance of their natural heritage.
The campaign, developed by Johnnic Communications Limited in association with South African National Parks, also aims to raise US$200-million in sustainable financing for the protection of the region’s unique bio-diversity, via an Endowment Fund to support seriously depleted conservation projects.
The idea is to capture the hearts and minds of people all over the world and to inspire them to act now to ensure the survival of Africa’s irreplaceable wildlife treasury – a legacy to be held by Africa for the benefit of all the children of today and tomorrow.
Each brick represents an acre of wildlife responsibility and is symbolic of southern Africa’s wild areas. There are four types of brick available for sponsorship, ranging in price from US$49 to $500.
Each brick will bear a personal inscription chosen by the donor. In this way, every donor’s name will be preserved for posterity in one of the world’s greatest wildlife reserves. Each sponsor will also receive a personal commemorative certificate from Nelson Mandela, the patron-in-chief of My Acre of Africa.
Says Mandela: “With bricks we shall build our children’s future, created only from the purest and finest elements, gently and lovingly laid on the deepest and strongest foundations, upon which our children, grown to adulthood, will stand tall and proud as they take their place alongside the wild things with which they share a healthy and beautiful Earth.
“If we do not do something to prevent it, Africa’s animals – and the places in which they live – will be lost to our world and her children forever. Before it is too late, we need your help to lay the foundation that will preserve this precious legacy long after we are gone.”