South Coast bids sad farewell to beloved animal activist, Johnny Koekemoer

An iconic figure in the Scottburgh community, Johnny Koekemoer – co-found of the non-profit organisation 4 Paws and a Tale Animal rescue – passed away on Saturday, 18 June. Having spent a life dedicated to helping animals, the family has requested that people kindly send donations to 4 Paws in lieu of flowers in memory of this incredible man. This will enable his committed wife, Nicky, to continue the lifechanging work being done by the organisation for animal welfare.

“What can one say about Johnny Koekemoer? Husband, father, grandfather, good friend and lover of any animal big or small. All of this will never be enough to explain what this man was about. He was one of a kind and the world has lost a very special man of God,” said Nicky.

Johnny was born in Ermelo on 1 July 1953 on a very cold winter’s morning which, according to Nicky, is possibly why he loved the hot and clammy climate of the KZN South Coast! After completing school, he worked in the local Post Office while dating Nicky, whom he met in high school. The couple married soon after Nicky matriculated, and remained together ever since.

“This man loved life. He was a sports’ fanatic and had a wicked sense of humour!” she recalled. The couple moved to Scottburgh in 1995, with Johnny taking a role as handy man at Scottburgh High School in 2001 where he worked until he fell ill in 2021.

“The school was his pride and joy,” continued Nicky. “In 2005, when we rescued our first dog, he fell into this role without thinking twice and spent many hours feeding and loving these sentient beings who were abandoned, neglected and abused.”

The couple established 4 Paws as a way to assist neglected, abandoned and abused animals in the area. With the assistance of dedicated volunteers – and relying solely on public generosity – 4 Paws runs a feeding programme which provides for hundreds of dogs and cats daily; provides shelter and medical care; sterilisation programmes; rescue, rehabilitating and rehoming animals every day.

Commenting on Johnny’s passion for the cause, Nicky said: “He fought for them without ever backing down, and those are the memories I will carry with me always. His love for Jesus was number one, and even in dying he acknowledged the God of all creation. As a family we are devastated in losing him, but the legacy he leaves behind will live forever.”

Celebrating Johnny’s life

There will be a memorial held for Johnny on Saturday, 25 June in celebration of Johnny’s incredible life.

Venue: Fish Eagle Café at Crocworld Conservation Centre, Scottburgh

Time: 1pm

RSVP: 084 514 6738

In honour of Johnny’s memory, people are encouraged to consider donate towards 4 Paws and a Tale in lieu of sending flowers. This includes the option of donating:

•   Dry food and tins of dog and cat food;

•  Blankets, old towels, linen and kennels which make for a much more comfortable sleeping area and provide shelter on sunny and rainy days for stray and township dogs; or 

•   Flea and tick medication.

Donations can be dropped off at the Tale End Charity Shop in Thira Village just off the main road, 142 Scott Street, in Scottburgh; or Seadoone Vet in Amanzimtoti. Visitors can also support the cause by buying any range of thrift items from the shop as well, or donating previously loved items in good condition to the shop. Opening times are 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 12pm every Saturday.

Alternatively, financial contributions are always welcome to cover medical and food bills, petrol and airtime used for home visits as well as vaccinations. Banking details are as follows:

Name: 4 Paws and a Tale Rescue

Bank: FNB

Branch code: 220227

Account number: 62370111991

International Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ

For more information about the great working being done, visit, Facebook @4PawsAndATaleRescue or call Nicky on 084 626 5508.