KZN Summer Series trophies with a tale

For the first time in South African cycling, Cycling South Africa will host two back-to-back women-only UCI 1.2 cycles races at the inaugural KZN Summer Series, in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation and Msunduzi Municipality on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 November 2016. Online retail platform – The Safari Store’s Steve Adams and his team – have teamed up with Cycling South Africa to assist with the design and production of the Series trophies. The story behind the trophies is a special one, and Adams hopes to share it far and wide.

Adams met KwaZulu-Natal local, Simba Takavada, one day in 2014 whilst driving through Hillcrest. Takavada was selling wire handcrafted Acacia trees on the side of the road just before Christmas time. “I immediately loved how they captured in wire all that I find alluring about Africa's Acacias and flat crown Albizias. I found that incredible; so incredible in fact that I bought a whole lot as gifts for my team at work and for family and friends,” he said.

 

Simba Takavada uses his excellent wire crafting skills to transform snare wire collected from various reserves into beautiful Acacia trees. Photo: Supplied.

Simba Takavada uses his excellent wire crafting skills to transform snare wire collected from various reserves into beautiful Acacia trees. Photo: Supplied.

Involved through The Safari Store Trust with conservation work in Zululand reserves, Adams deals with many anti-poaching projects. He mentioned that one of the biggest killers, if not the biggest killer of African wildlife, is a wire snare, which kill painfully and indiscriminately.

He then teamed up with Takavada, who began using the snare wire as a resource for his trees.

Adams explained the process of how the SnareTrees project began: “After seeing a pile of wire snares at one of the anti-poaching bases in Mkhuze, it was a logical step to try and turn the wire snares into something beautiful to sell to people and, in doing so, raise funds for further de-snaring work.

“It ticks the social enterprise box too and my dream is to eventually fund de-snaring teams from the sale of these SnareTrees.”

The irony of Adams’ real hope is in wishing that the entire project will one day fail due to the it becoming so effective and snare resources running out. “That would make me very happy, but is highly unlikely to happen, Africa is a big place,” he said.

Proceeds from the selling of SnareTrees go straight into de-snaring and anti-poaching projects. Photo: Supplied

Proceeds from the selling of SnareTrees go straight into de-snaring and anti-poaching projects. Photo: Supplied

For Adams, the trees symbolise how beauty can transpire from the ugly, like something intended to kill. “It is a way of turning the whole snaring issue on its head and turning a death trap into something which, through the SnareTrees, works against snaring by raising funds which are all poured back into de-snaring work,” he said.

The trees themselves hold for him character and capture the heart and essence of what he loves about Africa. “Each SnareTree is unique and differs by virtue of the way Simba (Takavada) bends the wire to form shapes simply based on the type and thickness of wire,” said Adams.” To date, Takavada has transformed fish traps, cable and wire snares into SnareTrees of all shapes and sizes.

 
SnareTrees are in the process of being block-mounted as trophies for the inaugural 2016 KZN Summer Series, taking place from 16-17 November. Photo: Supplied.

SnareTrees are in the process of being block-mounted as trophies for the inaugural 2016 KZN Summer Series, taking place from 16-17 November. Photo: Supplied.

 

Cycling South Africa teamed up with Adams in order to block-mount SnareTrees as the trophies for this year’s KZN Summer Series. Adams mentioned that he was very pleased to be involved. “To me it is a milestone in the SnareTree story which I think will bring greater awareness to the issue of snaring and poaching. It will also hopefully encourage more people and businesses to become involved in the SnareTree programme,” he said.

He also added that the SnareTrees have been successful gifts for friends, families or clients. Takavada is also in the process of designing a new range of SnareTree, called the SpiceTree – into which spices can be stored.

“The SnareTree trophies will expose the SnareTree programme to a global audience and I hope the winners love their trees as much as we love ours – and maybe spread the word too,” Adams concluded.

For more information about the KZN Summer Series, click here: www.cyclingsa.com/2016-kzn-summer-series/