Authors and Book Reviews  

October 06 - 12, 2006


 Coastweek   Kenya

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World Society for the Protection of
Animals and 'Sasa Sema' Publications

Coastweek - - Honourable Dr Noah Wekesa, Acting Minister for Education, Science and Technology, has launched a Declaration Of Animal Welfare In Kenya at the Nairobi International Book Fair on 27th September.

A children's book of short stories forms part of the initiative: to transform perceptions of animals in Africa.

The book is co-published by The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Sasa Sema Publications.

It is entitled: The Unlikely Burden and Other Stories, illustrated in full colour through out.

There are sixteen short stories concerning the relationships we have with farm animals, pets and wildlife.

Each section includes a variety of activities to be used in homes and in primary school classrooms.

Hon. Wekesa wrote in his introduction to the book:

"Who has decided that it is only humans that deserve to be treated fairly ?

"While we human beings have appointed ourselves as governors of this planet, this comes with a responsibility of providing our fellow earthlings with their basic welfare."

Coastweek - - The Unlikely
Burden And Other Stories.

Hon. Wekesa has been a consistent supporter of WSPA and its aims.

"Dr Wekesa's support re-in-forces the importance of education in improving animal welfare standards," said Nigel Wilson, the Africa Director for the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

"Education and awareness are more effective in protecting animals than legislation and enforcement alone."

And, indeed, the anthology for children aged 9 - 14 looks set to become an approved school text book in many African countries.

The sixteen stories are written by various authors around the African continent.

Kenyan authors include Jomo Kenyatta Literature Prize winners Ken Walibora, Stanley Gazemba and Ruth Wairimu, journalists Rupi Mangat, Ng'ang'a Mbugua and Patrick Ngugi, and the poet Stephen Partington.

The illustrations are by a young Kenyan artist, Kevin Ameya.

A rising population, along with deepening poverty, is putting pressure on Africa's wildlife, working animals and food animals.

In turn this impoverishes the humans dependent on them. Moreover, exposure to mistreatment of animals encourages mistreatment of human beings as well.

"There's evidence that children who have learned to treat animals humanely grow up more empathetic towards other people."

The stories highlight the symbiotic relationship between humans and animals.

For example, The Batwatcher explains how protecting animal habitats protects our own environment.

In The Unlikely Burden, the village bully is forced to accept help from a donkey he has mistreated.

In Pygmy Hunted we learn that it is not just the one who kills the animal who is at fault.

Eleven-year-old reader Andrea Kenneth from Nairobi said:

"The goats were funny and the book made me wonder how it is to be a goat.

"Some of the stories go from sad to happy and some leave you in suspense - I like that."

Caine Prize winner, Yvonne Owuor, commented:

"This little book is an important step in reclaiming the intrinsically African sense of inter-species tolerance and co-existence ...Read this book with your children !"

The Unlikely Burden and Other Stories is available from Sasa Sema Publications: P.O. Box 13956, Nairobi 00800 Kenya

WSPA has distributed copies to schools ten countries around the continent with a grant from the World Animal Network.

Further Information and Ordering - readers in the United Kingdom can order copies from Cana Publishing: www.canapublishinguk.com

[five per cent of proceeds go to WSPA's education programme in Africa]




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