Livingstone’s Elephant

Written By: The Lowdown - Jul• 01•13

Almost a year since it started to take shape, the Kachere Art Studios’ Rhino at Longacres Shopping Centre, stands solid and strong.


The Rhino, moulded from plastic bags and bottles picked up on the streets of Lusaka, carries many lessons. What started off as a message on the need to protect our wildlife heritage for future generations of Zambians quickly became an opportunity to educate any and all passers-by on the need to reduce our carbon footprint.


Yet the passion and determination of the Kachere Art Studio has not dimmed in the last year. If anything it has increased and they have been quietly going about their business as they have done for the last seven or eight years, taking every opportunity to educate Zambia’s citizens on climate change.


During December last year, they took themselves down to the shanty market at Kamwala. There they transformed a tree which had previously been used as a urinal into a tree with Christmas decorations instead; decorations made from plastic bags and bottles collected off Lusaka’s streets. And with it went their engaging with and educating all who would listen. This is in addition to giving disadvantaged children and widows art courses (with an environmental slant) at different orphanages and shelters. A workshop was recently held at Naluyanda Integrated Development Organisation


Kachere also took themselves down to Siavonga during the Siavonga Festival where they constructed a plastic Nyami Nyami. During the Festival Nyami Nyami was taken to the schools around Siavonga where pupils had a chance to add their bit of plastic to it. At the same time, they were educated on the environment and climate change with special emphasis on keeping LakeKariba as well as our other Lakes and Rivers clean and the sustainable harvesting of fish.


Nyami Nyami is not yet complete and is currently residing safely at Eagles Rest. It will in due course be moved to the Civic Centre where it will be erected in its permanent position. Only then will it be stuffed full of plastic and the hard outer shell applied. In the meantime, if you are in Siavonga and want to see this ‘Work of Art’, pop into Eagles Rest for a drink or a meal and while you are there they will show you the work in progress.


But despite all this activity, Kachere have also been planning the next in their ‘Big Five’ series of animals made from plastic. As we go to press, they have made a start on an enormous elephant in Livingstone.


Working in conjunction with Livingstone Council, this approximately ten metre high elephant is being erected in the area in front of the Civic Centre and not far from LivingstoneMuseum.  Highly visible, they hope that thousands of Livingstone residents and visitors, including visitors to UNWTO, will stop by and lend a hand to creating Kachere’s latest creation. But the real target are not the overseas visitors but our Zambian people, especially the younger generation who are going to be most affected by climate change and who are going to be the charcoal burners and polluters of the future.


Kachere also hope that Lodge owners and tour operators will support this effort by having Lodge staff sort the plastic that is to be disposed of and deliver this rubbish to the Civic Centre for ‘stuffing’ the elephant. It goes without saying that ordinary Livingstone residents are also welcome to deliver their plastic bottles and bags to Kachere. They are also invited to bring their staff and families down for a bit of education and fun. What better way than for this education and engagement to be conducted by Zambian citizens rather than by foreigners with whom our youngsters do not relate.


Funding for Livingstone’s Elephant has been provided, in part, by the Civil Society Environment Fund supported by the Governments of Denmark and Finland.


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