South Africa’s Heritage Day, a poignant reminder of shared compassion for animals

A new office for the animal hospital in Mdzananda, South Africa, was opened in September 2013. Photo: Animal Welfare Assistant Maria Limani with IFAW’s Lisa Cant-Haylett. © IFAW/L. Cant-HaylettOn the 24th September South Africa celebrated Heritage Day. 

In true South African style, families, friends and acquaintances gathered from all over South Africa to celebrate their heritage.

At the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, the celebrations were made all the more sweeter as the project’s newly completed surgery building was officially opened, with the official ribbon cutting ceremony preceded by a local gospel choir. 

Stirring up the celebratory mood of the moment, the choir led to more than one of us having to resist the urge to break into dance as the rhythmic beat of the music travelled through us.

A strong gathering of people witnessed this exciting milestone in the “life” of the project, including staff, community members, pet owners and long-time Mdzananda supporters from all four corners of the Western Cape.

It was a poignant reminder that even though we may not all have the same heritage, many of us share the same compassion and drive and a like-minded commitment and dedication to work together for good, for the people and animals of Khayelitsha.

The Dog's Trust's, David Newall, cut the ribbon officially opening the new office.

With the “Cape Doctor” having taken care of the cloud cover, chasing most of the overcast weather away, the sunshine was a welcome relief after a spate of recent fronts had left Cape Town reeling from the cold.

With the ribbon cutting done and dusted, everyone gathered near the entrance of the new surgery to view the impressive building where all the project’s future surgeries will take place. 

The many proud faces and smiles of the staff could not be missed and it was a privilege for me, as a representative of IFAW, to share this important day with them.


For more information on our efforts to help animals in South Africa, visit our project page.

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Cora Bailey
Director, Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW)
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Gail A'Brunzo, IFAW Wildlife Rescue Manager
Wildlife Rescue Manager, IFAW HQ
Jan Hannah
Northern Dogs Project Manager
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Companion Animals
Program Director, Companion Animals
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Nancy Barr, Programme Director, Education
Programme Director, Education
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters