My African Safari: How Animals Are Supposed To Be Seen by Russell Simmons

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    I am currently in South Africa giving a speech to young people about self mastery and entrepreneurship. The money I raise will be gifted to Rush Community Affairs and my other philanthropic investments. Yesterday I was given a very special opportunity to go on a safari through the bush at Royal Malewane, Thornybush Nature reserve.  

    Rev Run and his family (Justine, Vanessa, Russie and Miley) joined us and I have to say I was amazed by how close the open vehicles were to the wild animals. I don’t know how to express in words how magical it is to be here and to experience nature as a quiet, respectful unobtrusive observer in its natural state. Seeing lions with their pride and elephants with their young is something I will bank in my memory forever- and re-visit it whenever I want to meditate on the brilliance of the Earth.

    As an animal rights activist I am well aware what a gift it is to see animals in their natural habitat vs. seeing captive animals in zoos where they are deprived of everything natural to them, often suffering from a condition called “zoochosis”- you know, we have all seen it. That’s where the animal rocks back and forth endlessly trying to cope with their boredom, loneliness and the fact that most of these prisons don’t offer enough space, proper climate control, places to hide and find shelter, etc.

    Zoo animals are enslaved for our entertainment, especially the traveling zoos where animals are usually kept in small concrete cages with near-constant confinement without being allowed to have appropriate social interaction with their families.  

    These magnificent animals I encountered on the safairi aren’t riding on bicycles or jumping through rings of fire like kids see them do at the horribly cruel circuses where they are routinely beaten and neglected. These great beasts were tending to their young, running free  and just being left alone to live their lives. This is, in my opinion, the only way kids should see them.  If they can’t see them this way then seeing them in slavery should not be an option.  

    I realize how expensive this trip was is for most people but its better they miss the first hand experience and watch a nature show on TV rather than teach kids that slavery of any kind is acceptable. I hope you enjoy some of the photographs we took of our trip. Its my pleasure to share them with you.

    ~Russell Simmons

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