Tamsin Nel, originally began her professional life as an investigative reporter, but found that she needed to be more than just a witness on issues she cared deeply about. Her mantra; ‘If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem,’ led to her founding the South African Mass Animal Sterilisation Trust in July 2006.
In November 2008, Tamsin Nel was announced the winner in the international PETA “One Can Make a Difference” contest in the ‘Spay/Neuter Companion Animals’ category.
PETA is the largest and most successful animal rights organisation in the world.
“I was brought up to love, respect and cherish all forms of life and I suppose, together with my background in journalism, marketing and sales, it was inevitable, that I would one day choose to devote my life towards the betterment of those life forms in desperate need of help and intervention.
“I’m by no means even close to being perfect, but I am a goal orientated person and working with likeminded people can be tremendously fulfilling. Seeing the results of what a mass animal sterilisation and education programme actually translates into in an impoverished community is hugely rewarding.
Big smiles and pride in the faces of those pet guardians who have finally been empowered, and of course the happy, healthy wagging tails of their charges, make the hard work and sacrifices worth it!”
In mid 1997, Dutch-born Royal Dutch Airlines stewardess Fransje van Riel left her career, friends and home to move to the southern tip of Africa to pursue her love for animals and wildlife.
This new course saw the beginning of a new carreer and over the next few years, Fransje published a variety of travel, wildlife and animal articles for South African newspapers and magazines.
Her writing career includes two books of non-fiction, Life with Darwin and other Baboons, which was published locally by Penguin Books and was translated into Dutch by publishing house The House of Books.
Fransje's second book, 'The Crowing of the Roosters', was published a little over a year later. This true life story is a tale of age-old African cultures and traditions and voices the turbulent life of Nomfusi Vinah Yekani, a Xhosa lady whose life experiences spanned five decades against the backdrop of the rural Eastern Cape Province in South Africa during the early 1950's.
Movingly, and at times hauntingly written, Fransje worked closely with Mrs. Yekani to produce an authentic work of contemporary non-fiction.
The Crowing of the Roosters was published to high acclaim in both The Netherlands (Arena Books 2004) and South Africa (David Philip 2005) and was the recipient of a nomination for Africa's premier literary award, The Sunday Times/Alan Paton Book Award in August 2005.
Fransje is currently based in the greater Cape Town area, where she concentrates on her freelance writing and photography.
On her role as Ambassador of SA.MAST, Fransje says:
"I have thrown myself behind this initiative because the overpopulation of domestic dogs and cats in disadvantaged areas is a massive community problem. It is not only the tremendous amount of animal suffering that SA.MAST addresses, but also directly assists the people in the community.
Cats and dogs deserve to live their lives properly and with dignity and respect. By mass spaying, we get to the core of the problem of overpopulation, starvation and unnecessary trauma inflicted on animals as well as the people having to witness suffering at such massive scale.
Other than curbing numbers of unwanted pets, I believe that this initiative commands respect, awareness and compassion through education of animal care and responsibility towards life.
A healthy community consists of a tight-knit fabric based on the pillars mentioned above. Animals are part of that community, and contribute to its holistic whole".
I couldn't think of a more worthwhile cause."
click on a thumbnail below to view a short video from our documentary :