Have you seen the life-sized sperm whale just outside of Kommetjie? To find it you need to drive south out of Kommetjie past the Slangkop Lighthouse – which turned 100 years old this year. Pulling off the road a little further on, you can take in the beautiful views of the ocean and Soetwater. Below you, parked in a sandy parking area, lies a very large grey sperm whale known as Wanda. This whale is the landmark for the Soetwater Environmental Education Centre (SEEC), founded in 2003 and run by Jan Hendrik Labuschagne, known to everyone as Lappies.
For 16 years the jovial and passionate Lappies has been teaching children from all over to treasure and care for the environment. This happens through fun, games and adventure, and lesson topics are not only on the environment but also include leadership, self-esteem and conflict resolution. There are obstacle courses, hikes, snake and bird shows, and treasure hunts. SEEC is a registered Section 21 NGO and every year seeks to sponsor trips for school children who do not have the means to be there.
She stood at the aquarium in Durban for many years where visitors could go inside the whale and watch a video about the plight of the whales. Water spurted from its head, its eyes lit up, and whale sounds played inside. Wanda hosted thousands of people over the years. Eventually, she was taken to Treasure Beach ECC on the Durban Bluff, where she stood and sadly fell into disuse and disrepair, and was used as a storeroom. This is where Lappies found her and saw the potential she still had.
He managed to get her on loan and then planned her road trip to Soetwater. The road trip took about 10 days as they stopped at many venues between Durban and Cape Town to talk to schools about pollution and littering and its effect on the ocean. Parmalat (SA) and the Department of Environmental Affairs sponsored the trip, and in 2004 Wanda arrived at the Soetwater Environmental Education Centre where she has been ever since.
Designs need to be submitted by 15 December 2019 to be considered. Local artists will then paint the whale in January 2020. The artist of the winning design will receive a prize as well see their design come to life. In creating your design consider the tale of the whale and what she would be saying to us today regarding the earth and the oceans. We are looking for a fresh, colourful design, which spruces up the whale and inspires visitors to the centre.
For more details contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org