The tale of Thando the Chameleon begins with his birth, which took place high on top of the picturesque Outenique mountain range on the 21st of March 2015.
It was here where he hatched from his egg and for the first time ever saw a big bold world… a world he just couldn’t wait to explore.
At this point Thando did not have a name, but this adventurous chameleon didn’t care. He was going on a journey and nothing could stop him.
Before he could set off, however, the daring chameleon noticed a strange shape coming up the mountain towards him. This odd looking silhouette had very skinny legs and what looked like a long and slender neck.
Curious as to what it could be, he decided to hold up his hand and give it a wave. The creature waved back and came over to him. It then introduced itself as Oliver the Ostrich. The chameleon told Oliver he wanted to go on an adventure, so Oliver offered to show him Mossel Bay. He climbed on Oliver’s back and off they went, dashing towards the ocean.
Once they arrived he hopped down from Oliver’s back. He then thanked the ostrich for his help and yelled “Goodbye” as Oliver galloped off into the distance.
From the cliffs the little chameleon could see that Mossel Bay was a beautiful place where rolling waves crashed onto a pretty sand beach underneath an immense blue sky. As he took in its beauty from above, he noticed some movement down by the shore.
He climbed down the rocks and soon discovered a dolphin had been washed onto the beach. It was clearly in distress and needed his help. In the blink of an eye he ran over and grabbed the dolphin’s tail then swiftly but gently dragged him back into the water.
The dolphin inhaled deeply and began to calm down. He said his name was Dori and that the chameleon had saved his life. In return, Dori offered him a ride to one of the most beautiful places in the land, Hermanus.
Dori swam quickly and it wasn’t long before the intrepid chameleon found himself at another glistening beach. Not wanting to get too close to shore again, Dori asked the chameleon if he could swim there by himself.
The brave but fledgling chameleon assured Dori he could and they parted ways not far from the sand. As the chameleon started swimming towards the land however, he realized the waves were becoming too powerful. He fought and fought against the swell but he felt like he was getting nowhere.
Then, the blue skies turned dark and became filled with menacing clouds. Suddenly the little chameleon heard a thunderous clap and the air around him flashed with a brilliant bright light. He closed his eyes and yelled for help… “Maybe I should have stayed on the mountain”, he cried.
When he opened his eyes again he didn’t know where he was. As soon as his vision adjusted and his senses returned, he realised he was actually back on the beach. Confused but relieved, he got up slowly but was startled by a lady with a surfboard kneeling down next to him. She was tall and beautiful and she asked him his name. To this he replied, “ I do not have one”.
The surfing woman said her name was Alisa and that he must be a very brave chameleon to still be alive. She then said that someone so strong needs a strong name. It was in this moment that she gave him the name Thando. “This is the Zulu word for love”, she said.
Thando thanked the lady and began to rub his head. He winced as he felt his fingers run over a scar. “You were hit by lightning”, said Alisa. “It may hurt a little, but that interesting scar on your forehead has given me a fantastic idea”.
Alisa asked Thando to follow her back to where her friends were staying. It turns out that the lovely surfer girl was the brand manager for a South African online casino called Thunderbolt and she was looking for a mascot while on holiday in Cape Town. When they arrived, Alisa and her colleagues insisted that with his adventurous spirit, Thando must become part of the Thunderbolt Casino team.
Thando was thrilled with the offer and decided then and there that fate had brought them all together for a purpose. With his lightning bolt scar and positive vibes, Thando was the perfect fit for this popular casino.
Since that fateful day, Thando has represented Thunderbolt Casino everywhere he goes and shared his story to all that ask. Proud, happy and full of gratitude, Thando is a fantastic mascot that still loves to explore the world around him.