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The story of an extraordinary vision… and a beacon of hope for Khayelitsha

A major beacon of animal care, humane education, health and environmental awareness for the vast community of Cape Town’s Khayelitsha has taken flight… here’s how you can get involved.

Fresh from successful direct action campaigns with Sea Shepherd as well as against the barbaric animal sacrifice at Gadhimai in Nepal and the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China. Nikki is passionate about bringing effective change to situations where animals suffer and is not afraid to motivate action and move mountains to inspire others to actively fight for a better society.

“Why do I throw my weight behind “SA.MAST”? Because sterilizing animals literally saves lives. It helps stop the cycle of neglect and abuse and heal in so many ways.”

So says Nikki Botha, “SA.MAST’s” animal activist celebrity champion who fully supports the work of Tamsin Nel, founder of the South African Mass Animal Sterilization Trust.

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And what she’s asking you to fight for now, is a dream. A dream that Tamsin Nel wakes up with and works for every day. A dream that has built the largest and most focused mass animal sterilization campaign in the world.

And, as Nikki will be the first to tell you, Tamsin has the right credentials. She is someone who knows about deprivation.

Despite growing up in a variety of places of safety and foster homes. Tamsin developed a significant sense of right and wrong at a young age. While she found her greatest comfort in her relationship with animals, the only gentle and loving influence in her life, she dreamed of becoming a healer, to make her life purposeful by finding ways to help animals and people.

But she realised this choice of following her heart was denied to many others.

Aware of the dire situation of dogs in Khayelitsha – either sick, diseased and uncared for, scavenging rubbish heaps or tied to posts in perpetual servitude as alarm systems – she also understood the feelings of disempowerment and desensitization within the community.

Without significant education intervention or animal population control measures, the attendant neglect, abuse, and health and safety risks – along with the despair and powerlessness of the people – would continue.

Tamsin’s big dream was to remap the landscape of poverty that held both people and animals in a cycle of deprivation. She felt that dignity could only be restored and empowerment effected through committed compassionate engagement, mass sterilization to reduce the burgeoning animal population, and delivery of concomitant health and humane education.

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In 2015, the original sterilization clinic was expanded to a fully-fledged animal hospital to cater not only for mass sterilizations but also provide medical care for sick and injured animals.

Employing and training an incredible team of 12 people, SA.MAST has treated over 11,000 animals – offering free sterilizations, vaccinations, primary treatments, animal ambulance, and building thousands of kennels for shelterless dogs.

But to truly fulfill Tamsin’s ‘giant, impossible’ dream, SA.MAST needs to complete another 2000 sterilizations to achieve a 90% completion goal in Khayelitsha.

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Tamsin believes we are all able to be the example we want to see – and Nikki Botha agrees with her fully when she says,

“Ordinary people have angel wings.”

So can you help SA.MAST fly over that finishing line? Each sterilization costs R350.00.

To contribute, please visit SA.MAST’s fundraising page here. You can also connect with SA.MAST here.

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The Good Things Guy
Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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