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​Nursery rhymes and colourful pictures have been mosaicked on to a wall at the Joburg Zoo’s farmyard to add to children’s delight.
YOUNG visitors to the zoo will not only get to see their favourite animals, but will also get to learn and sing nursery rhymes at the farmyard, where a mosaic has been installed.

Happy cows are depicted in the mosaicThe mosaic portrays happy cows in a meadowThe mosaic, unveiled on 28 February after being donated by Douglasdale Dairy, portrays well-known nursery rhymes painted in a large, easy-to-read script on to ceramic tile illustrations. Children visiting the zoo will be able to sing along to the words of Hey Diddle Diddle written in English, Afrikaans and Zulu.

Louise Gordon, the zoo’s executive manager and education, described the mosaic as “lovely and brightening the farm”. “People will come to the farm and teach their kids the rhymes … There is a rhyme in Zulu, Afrikaans and English. So it will educate a wide range of people who come to the zoo,” she said.

The mosaic of tiles, pebbles and beads is illustrated with pictures of cows grazing in a meadow.

Riaan Bester, the sales manager at Douglasdale Dairy, said the point of the donation was educational. “The mosaic will encourage children to read and write,” he said. It was expected to benefit the 15 000 children from disadvantaged communities who visited the zoo every year. “The rhymes will make their visit even more exciting.”

Rhymes are written in large, easy to read lettersRhymes are written in large, easy-to-read lettersDouglasdale Dairy and Dish, the company that created and installed the mosaic, was privileged to be associated with the zoo, a place that inspired and educated people to care for animals and to be aware of conservation and environmental issues.

The mosaic was just the beginning of more things to come, pointed out Razina Pandor, the zoo’s marketing assistant. “The Johannesburg Zoo has started an ongoing community project to place proudly South African mosaic art around [it].”

Businesses, schools and individuals were encouraged to contribute to the project. Each sponsor’s name would be attached to the particular mosaic they sponsor. “In this way, [it will] leave an everlasting impression of the donor’s contribution to the zoo,” added Pandor.

School art departments were invited to get involved with the project, as it would make them part of the zoo’s history. Interested organisations, schools and individuals must contact Lynne Wilson on 011 447 1071 or email

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Joburg Zoo