16 August 2014

Write to Save Our Rhinos

In a world of writing, we are often inspired by a mood, a memory, or even a dream. And then when we least expect it, we are consumed by a need to stand up and make our voices heard. Well, a few months ago this happened to me…
A very close friend told me a story of how she would stare at an image from a webcam positioned at a watering hole in the middle of Africa, watching as the wild animals mulled around in an existence that most of us didn’t understand or weren’t aware of. She had never left her home town never mind her state, yet here she sat dreaming of walking on the hot, dry sand that was far from her reach. It made her long to be there, and made me smile that someone could feel passionate about the world outside of their borders. I’d listen as she told me of how their every move made her wonder what it would be like to see these magnificent creatures in person. This soon unleashed a feeling inside that captured my thoughts for a few months as I was inspired to write about my own desire.

Born and raised in Africa, I often take the beauty of nature for granted. I could easily climb in my car right now and drive less than an hour to go play with lion cubs, feed a giraffe, or even pat a zebra; yet she can’t…and probably never will.
This realisation moved me in a way I didn’t expect. Sitting in front of my television and listening to reports of what was happening in the world around me, on my doorstep, in my back yard…I thought of her and of future generations to come.

The harsh reality of how a magnificent animal can dwindle towards extinction, while we sit back and watch, came over me like a Tsunami of icy water. Being spoilt with the vastness of the African bush, I remembered the countless times I had been on game drives. It always amazed me even though I had seen it a hundred times before, and listening to the questions she had asked, my mind wandered to what her face would look like if she were given the chance to sit on the back of an open Land Cruiser as I had done. I would probably muse at her silent stare, gaping mouth, and even laugh when she jumped in her seat as one of the wild animals charged. This picture reminded me of one such occasion when I sat comfortably on the back of a vehicle, panic-struck, and watched as a majestic black rhino stormed towards us. The ranger stood up straight, rifle raised and ready, but held back. Probably more curious than angry and on its way back from a bout of supremacy over territory, the raging animal didn’t stop. I could barely hear a sound over the pounding feet that twirled up a cloud of dust, and there was no way the tranquiliser could kick in before the rhino struck the side of the vehicle.

Looking down, I couldn’t believe what I saw. The horn that was probably two feet long had pierced the side of the vehicle, and the tip was hidden from sight. The animal shook its head a few times before freeing the horn and standing still as though to inspect the gaping hole. The effects of the dart must have kicked in because the animal suddenly seemed dazed. He staggered away, and soon after the ranger radioed for back-up. The second vehicle was barely in sight before we all drove off.

I loved that day. It was one of my favourite memories of being out in the open. But right now, it makes me extremely sad. My sons have not had the opportunity to take a game drive yet, and I am not sure when they will. I just hope it is some time very soon, for that rhino I had the honour of seeing up close, and many like it, will not be around for much longer. They are being brutally slaughtered on a daily basis, and unless we as the guardians of all animals on earth do something about it, they will soon merely be a memory and admired in museums much like dinosaurs are.

It was this revelation that led me to sit down and write in the hope of creating awareness of what was happening, and four months after I started I wrote the final chapter of My African Dream. It is a romantic suspense set in the heart of Kenya, and finds Millicent Cramer in a world she only ever dreamed about. Even her wildest imagination could not have prepared her for life on African soil, but what she experienced there changed her life forever. She found the harsh beauty overwhelming, the people comforting, and even found love… But the biggest thing she discovered was a purpose for her life - a calling far beyond anything she had experienced before.

My African Dream was written with a need to get the message out to the world. I held it back from self-pubbing with the idea of approaching agents and publishers. To be honest, I have only queried a handful, and as much as any writer would like to see their work in print…I kind of got lost in the process. You see, it all changed from getting a message across to the pride of being published. I sat with the manuscript for months while wondering what to do with it, until my writing buddy and editor reminded me of something. They highlighted the passion I’d had while writing the chapters and creating the characters, the laughter I experienced when I threw the book at Milly only to see her come out on top every time. But most importantly, the awareness I was trying to create.

So with this, I have finally decided to publish My African Dream as an ebook. Some may say ‘whoopee doo-dah,’ that’s easy to do… Well yes, they are right, and it is…but in showing my support for the organisations that are combatting rhino poaching and in an attempt to get the message across, I am making a pledge.

Seeing as I am not able to physically help track down poachers - and believe me when I say that I will take extreme pleasure in doing more than just tracking down - and I wasn’t born with a golden spoon in my mouth , I am going to help in the only way I know how.

For the life of the book, I will donate 50% of all author proceeds to various organisations that are actively part of rhino conservation. This is the least I can do to help make sure that future generations are able to see these majestic beasts like I have: roaming free and out of danger.

Over the next few weeks I will be updating my blog with regards to the cover, the organisations that I will select, and then also the release date of the book. I will post it on Amazon as a pre-order, too. I am also giving serious reviewers and book bloggers the opportunity to receive a copy of the book, and they can contact me via Facebook, Twitter, or by leaving a message on my blog.

Remember that each book sold will help fund rhino conservation and preservation.
To the animals of Africa it is not a dream…it is their life.


  1. Mario, I love the cover and the rationale and the gift you got in order to go. What a wonderful cause. If other people could see what you saw, the world would be a better place. I support your cause as well as the medical causes I do (being a nurse). Bravo-- by the way- I am a reviewer and I would love a copy to review.

    1. Hi Lisa
      Heart Covers did an awesome job with the artwork...
      Yes, I am trying to create as much awareness as possible...and still find it amazing that one of the 'organisations' I wanted to fund turned me down because (after reading the book) they found it to not be 'politically correct,' and it might offend certain high-ranking officials...even though they are involved...

      Anyway... I will send you a copy as soon as I can :)