Eco-art practitioner, Sana Ebrahim speaking on Al-Ansaar’s Friday night talk show, 90 Minutes stressed that “it is important for people to have confidence and believe in their talents so that those who possess these attributes don’t have to downplay their achievements.” Ms Ebrahim is a greenwill ambassador and co-founder of the Green Heart Movement, Book & Design Fair Durban, and Board Game Champions. “Let your life’s ambition be guided by an innate passion. Self-belief and determination. These are the key determinants,” she says.
Board games assist with strategy and decision-making skills. She believes that engaging in face-to-face interaction through board gaming is vital especially for young people who are bound to face an ever-demanding future due to technological and other high-tech advances.
It is important for the youth to have inquiring minds in order to meet the future. She spoke about her own efforts to realise her aspirations. “Curiosity sparks interest in different subjects – you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve, if only you believe.” Amongst them is a city branding initiative to place Durban at the forefront of the Green Economy and make it a city that is renowned for its “green” lifestyle with an active citizenry committed to caring for nature and the environment.
She is a visible campaigner for Durban to be affectionately known as Green Heart City – an effort she hopes will place Durban on global radar screens, thereby growing the local economy through tourism and related merchandising. But she is more well-known for her promotion of the BunnyKat, a soft toy like symbol, which she uses to champion a number of causes.
The BunnyKat folk craft doll is handmade by indigenous crafters in the Valley of 1000 Hills on the outskirts of Durban who are linked to the neighbouring Woza Moya community store in Hillcrest. Woza Moya is an income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust that assists over 350 crafters impacted by HIV/AIDS to earn a sustainable income. The BunnyKat project is empowering more people as time goes on and the demand grows for these lovable characters in countries around the world. BunnyKat costuming is often green-themed while others scamper about in brightly coloured attire. Their diversified appeal enables them to leap across boundaries of geography, ethnicity and age. They are fashioned using upcycled materials displaying modern motifs patterned with African symbols depicting zigzags, circles and triangles. The culturally-sensitive materials are influenced by traditional attire known as ‘shweshwe’ with occasional beaded trimmings decorating the more ceremonial puppets. The green-hearted BunnyKat ‘socialheroes’ are cultural signifiers of Green Heart City Durban. They wear South African flags and have green hearts on their jerseys. The BunnyKat motto is: ‘Read Write Draw… X-plaw!’ During a visit to Ireland, a pack of BunnyKats befriended traditional leprechauns at the Leprechaun Museum. The intertwining of BunnyKat and Leprechaun folktales advanced the idea of linking Durban and Dublin as Writing Cities.
The annual Book & Design Fair Durban coordinated by the Green Heart Movement was piloted in September 2015 at KwaMuhle Museum, Durban Central. A key attraction is The Frameside Lounge offering conversational spaces for comic book artists, graphic novelists and folk craft entrepreneurs. The activations include storyboard frames mounted on display stands with visitors encouraged to enrich the process by continuing and contributing to the storylines of ‘BunnyKats on the Run.’
Crowd-sourced material from The Frameside Lounge will be incorporated as part of graphic novels, video and board games, and a comic book series titled ‘Down BunnyKat Lane.’ The comics and graphic novel series depicting the BunnyKat escapades have been originated by the citizen-based organisation, Green Heart Movement that aims to position Durban as Green Heart City.
Farook Khan – 90 Minutes Radio Al-Ansaar – 6th April 2018
“The reference to Durban as Green Heart City echoes the promotional branding of New York as the Big Apple and Paris as the City of Love. In South Africa, Cape Town has the Mountain, Johannesburg has the Brixton Tower and the mine dumps, and now Durban is becoming recognised for the BunnyKat and the giant Green Heart, following on from earlier but fading symbols of bananas, sugar cane, rickshas and surfboards,” explains Ebrahim.