Poetry and song will come together in a celebration of the majesty and beauty of Africa’s five large carnivores in ‘The Song of the Carnivores,’ an innovative programme to raise awareness and appreciation of the cheetah, leopard, lion, wild dog and spotted hyaena.
Uniquely linking the worlds of conservation and the arts, the collaborative venture is supported by the Cheetah and Wild Dog Regional Programme, the British Council Zimbabwe, Alliance Française de Bulawayo, the Zimbabwe Academy of Music, ’amaBooks Publishers, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation and the Zoological Society of London.
The first stage of the project was a poetry competition, with both school children and adults invited to write about the five carnivores. This part of the project will culminate in the winning entries being put to music by the celebrated British composer, Richard Sissons. The composition will premiere at the biennial Bulawayo Music Festival during May 2012. ‘The Song of the Carnivores’ premier will involve choirs of children from ten schools from across Bulawayo as well as a host of instrumentalists and many professional musicians.
Parallel with the creative programme is a series of five talks to be given in Bulawayo to dispel myths about each of the carnivores and to encourage action to ensure their continued survival. The talks on cheetah and lion have already taken place. The remaining talks, to be held at the Academy of Music in Bulawayo at 5.15pm, are:
Wild Dog – On the myth that they are cruel hunters that decimate wild prey populations (22 March).
Leopard – On the myth that there are plenty of leopards, that they are simply a problem animal and that we can continue hunting them indefinitely with no problem (19 April).
Spotted Hyaena – On the myth that they are simply lowly scavengers that impact on lions (17 May).