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After the fire: 'Ladies’ Team' to race for Knysna Animal Welfare Society at Jaguar Simola Hillclimb

2019-04-23 14:10

Clare Vale

Clare Vale

Image: Wheels24 / Clare Vale

Almost two years ago, in June 2017, we watched with horror as the Southern Cape burned. Many people lost everything: their homes, cars, possessions, and sadly, many people lost their loved ones as well.

The fire was ruthless and took anything in its path, tearing through towns, residential areas, farmland and forests.

South Africans are renowned for their resilience, though, and with the help of donations pouring in from throughout the country and abroad, most of the fire victims have managed to piece their lives back together to some extent.

Local residents who escaped the fire’s fury stepped up to assist, as did numerous local and national charitable organisations and NGOs.

With so much focus on the human aspect of the disaster, many of us forgot about the animals in the area. Dozens of pets died or were maimed, along with farm animals and wildlife.

Forest creatures such as tortoises, mice and hedgehogs could not escape the fire, and much of the birdlife that did escape suffered later after their habitat was destroyed.This is where organisations such as the Kynsna Animal Welfare Society (KAWS) played a crucial role.

Clare Vale

                                                                      Image: KAWS

KAWS was established back in 1967, and during its rich history it covered a vast area of the Southern Cape. As towns such as Plettenberg Bay grew and established their own animal welfare organisations, KAWS’ focus returned primarily to Knysna and its immediate surroundings.

Many KAWS staff members and volunteers were personally affected by the fire, but still worked alongside the firefighters, rescuing frantic animals from the flames. Dozens of pets were separated from their owners, putting the KAWS facility under huge pressure, and sadly many animals had to be euthanised due to their injuries.

KAWS also took in pets whose owners had lost their homes, offering a temporary safe haven for desperate animal lovers.

They also offered free veterinary care, food and support to those who needed it for more than a year after the fires.

KAWS does not receive government funding but continues to do amazing work for animal welfare in the Knysna area.

Clare Vale

 Image: KAWS

They offer free veterinary services to those who love their animals but can’t afford to pay for private veterinary care. They do sterilisation drives to help reduce the number of unwanted animals and try their utmost to find loving homes for strays and surrendered pets.

KAWS inspectors are always on the beat, taking care of injured animals and seeking out cases of cruelty – often difficult and dangerous work.Without regular funding, keeping everything going is often a challenge.

"With the amount of people moving to our region, the number of animals and the need for assistance keeps growing,” says Retha Havenga, office and PR manager for the Society.

"We can only survive as long as we have supporters donating to our cause."

The good news is that the Jaguar Simola Hill Climb has been a stalwart supporter of KAWS since the first event in 2009.

This year, the Hill Climb Ladies’ Team has also come on board to raise funds for KAWS.

Along with Knysna resident Tanya Watts, a long time KAWS supporter, the seven members of the Ladies’ Team will be raising funds in the lead up to the event.  

You can help us to support this "worthy KAWS" by donating funds into the following bank account:

First National Bank 
Branch Code 21 02 14 (Knysna)
Account number 52700033146

You can use the reference “SPEED” followed by the name of your favourite team member, for example SPEED/Clare.

To find out more about the Ladies’ Team, go to our Facebook pageTo find out more about KAWS, go to their Facebook page.

Clare vale

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