Festus, born Mosiiwa Festus Selomo in 1979, grew up in Motlhabaneng on the edge of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. He now lives in Mathathane, also nearby. He has three children and he is a professional guide, recovering from a horse-riding accident a few years ago.
Tuli Safari Lodge employed Festus to work in the gardens where he demonstrated his love of nature and his green fingers! He is friendly and patient and very good with children.
A curio-supplier visits Tuli Safari Lodge from time to time and spreads out his wares on a tarpaulin in the drive for Sylvia and Eloise to peruse and select items for the curio shop. Festus saw some of the small wire animals and he showed Sylvia and Eloise some which he had made. They were very good and it was agreed to sell some in the shop.
When the shareholders were at Tuli Safari Lodge and discussing ideas for fund-raising for the TCT, there had been some wonderful offers of photographs - an elephant photo showcasing the iconic giants of the Tuli area, and also a child to focus on community, a key part of the work of the TCT. There was also an offer of an amazing pencil drawing of an elephant, and there was a suggestion to set up a unique opportunity to walk a large part of the reserve. It was suggested it would be good to offer a piece of local craftmanship, possibly basket-weaving, and then Eloise mentioned about Festus and his wire animals.
Ideas flowed, including the thought of using snare wire collected by the anti-poaching team. Festus was approached to see if he would be prepared to create something larger and use snare wire. He was very excited to be asked, and keen to get started! He came back with various ideas and we settled on a giraffe, head and neck.
The end result, I think you will agree, is beautiful. Giraffes are an important species which are thriving in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. They are beautiful, elegant animals and Festus has imaginatively captured their characteristics and has produced a piece of sculpture with real individuality and meaning. If you look closely you can see her eyelashes!
Our thanks go to Festus for creating this stunning piece for us to auction to raise valuable funds towards the anti-poaching efforts.