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News > Giving Back > Harmony, Friendship, and Co-existence

Harmony, Friendship, and Co-existence

What if story-telling helped us to embrace the lost African ways of nature and humankind existing in mutual respect, whilst also contributing toward literacy in your mother tongue?
27 Oct 2023
Giving Back

The challenges faced by elephants are immense. Their populations have dwindled while human populations have surged. As elephants find themselves increasingly compressed into shrinking ranges, human-elephant conflicts grow, and crop raiding threatens the lives and livelihoods of local communities.

Imagine a world where humans and elephants coexist in perfect harmony, where the bonds of friendship and generosity transcend the boundaries of species. It's a world we all dream of, and it is this narrative brought to life in the pages of "Zoya and Naru: The Journey of a Boy and an Elephant." This extraordinary tale has the power to inspire us all to foster a brighter future for these majestic creatures.

Renowned artist Richie Ryall (1977F) recognised the significance of this story and lent his artistic talent to create the book's captivating illustrations, completely free of charge. With his brushstrokes and creativity, Richie has breathed life into a tale that transcends generations.

"This heartwarming book speaks of the interconnectedness of all species, friendship, and generosity and aims to create a narrative of harmonious co-existence between humans and elephants," Richie said, encapsulating the very essence of this enchanting story.

Behind the scenes, author Caroline Montague and Richie have generously donated all royalties from book sales in South Africa to Elephants Alive, a remarkable organization dedicated to the preservation and well-being of elephants.

Elephants Alive, in collaboration with Jacana Media, has embarked on a remarkable journey beyond just the book. Together, they have birthed the "Zoya & Naru Literacy Programme."

This initiative goes beyond storytelling – it aims to encourage education and conservation, promote literacy, and celebrate the importance of reading in one's mother tongue.

Moreover, in a generous gesture, Richie and Elephants Alive are contributing 20 copies of the literacy book to VUSA as part of their learning academy program. Nikki Matthews, from VUSA, is eagerly working with publisher Carol Broomhall to ensure that these books find their way into the hands of grandparents, parents, and children in Langa who need them the most.

As part of this inspiring journey, everyone is invited to join us on November 16th at 5:30 PM, for the much-anticipated launch of "Zoya and Naru: The Journey of a Boy and an Elephant." It's a chance to not only immerse yourself in this beautiful narrative but also to meet the incredible team from Elephants Alive and witness Richie's stunning artworks, which bring the story to life in such vivid detail.


A bit more about Elephants Alive

Elephants Alive, in their tireless dedication over the past 25 years, have been diligently studying the movements of elephants in and around the Kruger National Park in Southern Africa. Their work has provided invaluable insights into why elephants move as they do, a crucial piece in the puzzle of ensuring their survival and the preservation of their natural habitats. Ivory poaching remains a primary threat, but habitat loss and land fragmentation also loom large.

Elephants Alive's mission is clear: to identify corridors that allow these magnificent creatures the space to roam and to secure safe passages across community-owned lands. Their efforts extend beyond national boundaries and stretch across protected areas, privately owned reserves, and community lands in South Africa and Mozambique. By tracking elephants and closely collaborating with local communities, they strive to empower people to coexist harmoniously with elephants and restore ecosystems, ensuring the survival of both species.

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