The Ideas Cartel in Cape Town, that provides a very stylish collaborative work space for creative designers and entrepreneurs to come together, proved a fitting venue for the launch of SA Mint’s Gold Leopard Coin that was unveiled on Tuesday night, 30th September.
Special guests included selected coin dealers, members of SA Mint, and supporters of the Cape Leopard Trust and the Media, who all arrived beautifully dressed with accents of leopard-inspired fashion. Amid the leopard printed scarves and bow ties, the evening’s Host Elana Afrika wore an exquisite gown designed by Marianne Fassler of Leopard Frock, who also attended the event.
Leopards Leap Family Vineyards – a longtime supporter of the Cape Leopard Trust provided a selection of fine wines and was personally represented by CEO Hein Koegelenberg.
The Auditorium provided a welcoming and intimate setting for guests to enjoy the speeches made by SA Mint’s Managing Director Tumi Tsehlo who talked about their role as “custodians of South Africa’s rich heritage by creating timeless value” and a very gracious address by Johan Van Der Westhuisen – Chairman and Co-Founder of the Cape Leopard Trust. The emotion and appreciation in his voice were palpable as SA Mint announced that all proceeds from the sale of coin 001/300 would go to the conservation effort as well as a margin from each of the remaining coins in the Limited Edition Series.
Johan gave a moving account of the early days when Cape Leopard Trust first began ten years ago with just R10 000 and shared his pride over how the organisation has grown into a leading research authority on the Cape Mountain Leopard. Dr Quinton Martins who pioneered the research in the Cederberg, and co-founded the Trust along with Johan was sorely missed at the event. Quinton has since moved on to manage research programmes on mountain cats and snow leopards in the States and Nepal.
A video production funded by SA Mint and designed to support Cape Leopard Trust’s work was shown for the first time and tells the story of Oom Arrie, a native to the Cederberg Mountains whose family has been in the region for six generations and has witnessed the return of a species that only a few decades ago, was at risk of being obliterated from the Western Cape. “We see the spoor of the Leopard everyday when we walk in the bush and it is encouraging to know that this predator has found sanctuary again.” The video also showcases the educational outreach work being done by Cape Leopard Trust that sees hundreds of children embark on wilderness retreats every year, sharing their stories around a campfire and finding solice in nature away from their troubled lives in the gang riddled townships of the Western Cape.
The Leopard Coin was shown in its beautifully crafted wooden box accompanied by a Bronze allow replica of a Leoaprd’s tooth and Claw before Elana Afrika bravely placed the first online Bid
Hemelhuijs, situated just below on Waterkant Street provided a leopard- inspired feast where the conversations turned to the Piece De resistance in the centre of the room – a life size sculpture of Leopard, clad entirely in mosaics of burnt toast! Delicious courses made from locally sourced produce and inspired by the Leopard, flowed form Chef Jaques Erasmus’ kitchen and nourished guests with fun and whimsical creations emulating the leopard’s colours of gold and black through Sandveld Gnocchi and blackened quail, and signature dishes such as Karoo Lamb and Springbok Carpaccio.
The Online Auction is now open and will run until 15th November where patrons stand a chance to own this prescious piece of heritage along with a 2 night stay at BushmansKloof Wilderness Retreat and Wellness Spa in the Cederberg.
You can see the coin in person and sample the Signature Leopard Dish at Hemelhuijs until the 15th November 2014, when the auction will close at 18h00. Make your mark on conservation today and join the Bid!