Celebrated actress/producer Margot Robbie will be swapping Barbie pink for safari green in her next role to play gutsy Saving the Wild founder Jamie Joseph.
In October 2017 Joseph exposed what she calls her ‘Blood Rhino Blacklist’ – a crooked cabal of justice officials taking bribes on rhino poaching, child rape and other crimes against humanity.
Robbie met Joseph, who is founder of New Zealand charity Saving the Wild, in June 2018, and this ongoing saga of injustice moved her deeply.
At the time of their meeting, a Saving the Wild intelligence operation was underway, leading to the arrest of Kruger rhino poaching kingpin Petros Mabuza.
Joseph, who is currently visiting New Zealand from Kenya, is hosting a high profile sold-out fundraising dinner at Onslow restaurant in Auckland on February 22 where guests will also enjoy drinking Margot Robbie’s Papa Salt gin.
Joseph is delighted to finally be able to talk about the movie which has been in the planning for the past three years, and that the story of Saving the Wild, which she founded in 2015, will be told because it will help the fight to save the rhinos and other endangered wildlife in South Africa and Kenya including the African elephant.
In her line of work Joseph often has to work undercover and faces constant threats. When attending court in South Africa she has a bodyguard.
For the past eight years she’s worked to expose the corruption that has devastated South Africa’s rhinos – a country that was home to around 80 per cent of the world’s population, but has been in an astonishing decline for the past decade – all for a horn that nobody needs.
“Because rhino poaching in South Africa is high reward and low risk, the huge amounts of cash from the sale of rhino horn funds many other criminal enterprises, while at the same time terrorising communities,” says Joseph.
Saving the Wild has relentlessly pursued the rhino mafia, fighting organised crime and exposing massive corruption in the two most important high stakes battlegrounds of Zululand and Kruger National Park.
“I am just the face of activism, and for this story, a way in,” says Joseph. “The unsung heroes are the rangers and police officers and whistle-blowers I work with, persecuted by their state employers for exposing corruption and pursuing high level targets. If we are to honour them, we should honour them with justice, and the courts of South Africa continue to fail us.”
Saving the Wild’s team of pro bono attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc are now preparing for a case against the South African government on the basis of the constitutional right to the environment and the state’s failure to adequately prosecute environmental crimes. In 2014, rhino poaching was declared a national priority crime in South Africa, and yet contradictory to this, there is no minimum sentence legislation to this effect.
Saving the Wild is also currently pursuing U.S. sanctions against corrupt South African justice officials, a campaign supported by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, former Public Protector of South Africa Professor Thuli Madonsela, two-time Academy Award nominated actor Djimon Hounsou whose foundation fights human trafficking, and Sir Richard Branson.
The movie to be produced by Robbie and her LuckyChap production banner and the current plan is to make this film in South Africa later this year so watch this space!