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Connecting | Catalysing | Cultivating


Picture courtesy of Martin Sharman (CC)

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Contents 2 The GreenMatter Fellowship 4 What does the GreenMatter Fellowship respond to? 7 Programme Impact 8 GreenMatter Fellows and Senior Fellows 27 Developing a consortium of support


2012 GreenMatter inaugural Fellows

The GreenMatter Fellowship The GreenMatter Fellowship connects a community of outstanding biodiversity champions and leaders, enabling them to achieve their potential and serve as true ambassadors of South Africa’s natural wealth.

The GreenMatter Fellowship welcomes outstanding graduates, passionate young professionals and experienced leaders from all walks of life. It emphasises camaraderie, community and peer learning, while encouraging individual excellence.

It promotes the view that leadership for biodiversity can and should be evident across sectors, occupations, qualifications and positions.

The GreenMatter Fellowship has several unique characteristics. These include:


•  specifically targeting the priority skills needs

mentoring, personal and professional

of the biodiversity sector, as informed by research;

development support; and • supporting individuals, but also connecting

• providing a quality, holistic support package,

them to the wider national context.

supplementing financial awards with

GreenMatter Fellowship holistic support

Personal & professional development Wider national context

Financial support

Dynamic community




Pictures courtesy of SANParks, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com, Sasol/MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

What does the GreenMatter Fellowship respond to? South Africa’s wildlife and natural resources are a precious source of wealth. In addition to its intrinsic value, the country’s biodiversity supports income generation and job creation for communities, and is fundamental to the ecological infrastructure needed to sustain and enhance human well-being and development.

Issues such as climate change, ecosystem degradation and resource constraints affecting supplies of food and water have increased society’s desire to safeguard this vital natural capital.

In order to achieve these goals, we need a steady flow of the best minds to help sustainably manage our natural resources for the benefit of all South Africans, both present and future generations.


Pictures courtesy of Rhodes University, Sasol/MediaClubSouthAfrica.com, SANBI

Studies have revealed critical skills shortages in the biodiversity sector. South Africa urgently needs to develop highly skilled professionals who are able to play leading roles in conserving, managing and researching the country’s biodiversity.

The GreenMatter Fellowship is nested in a systemic programme of aligned initiatives that addresses the critical skills shortages in the biodiversity sector, within the context of broad-based, socio-economic transformation.

Biodiversity is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend. – Convention on Biological Diversity


Picture courtesy of SANParks


Pictures courtesy of SANParks, Graeme Williams/MediaClubSouthAfrica.com, SANBI

Programme impact The GreenMatter Fellowship affords Fellows and Senior Fellows the opportunity to fully engage, through a dynamic community, in tackling biodiversity issues through their study and career paths alongside peers who share in that commitment.

Overall goal: to improve the levels of availability, quality and relevance of biodiversity professional skills, enabling South Africa to effectively manage its natural resources to sustain human well-being and development.

Focus: to increase the number of talented, particularly black South Africans attracted to working in the biodiversity sector, providing them with opportunities to advance their skills, expand their networks and influence, thereby opening doors to employment and leadership opportunities.


GreenMatter Fellows and Senior Fellows Meet a selection of the biodiversity champions and leaders supported by the GreenMatter Fellowship.

Balungile Madikizela PhD Student – Ethnobotany, University of KwaZulu-Natal 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“Overharvesting of known medicinal plant species poses a significant risk to ensuring an intact diversity of habitats. There is still a lot that can be done to prevent overharvesting of such threatened species by working closely with rural communities in South Africa to promote conservation.�

Growing up in rural South Africa, Balungile understands the challenges experienced by and opportunities available within rural communities. She has therefore developed a programme working with traditional healers and children, helping them better understand their everyday impact on the environment.


Dr Leonard Masubelele Landscape Ecologist, SANParks 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“It is important for researchers to be aware of and utilise new and improved technologies, and have the ability to foster collaborations to enhance the positive impact on our wealth of biodiversity.�

Leonard has been involved in various outreach projects representing the Botany Department at University of Cape Town, as well as SANParks. He has contributed towards career guidance initiatives and demonstrations. He has led various journal and seminar discussions in the Plant Conservation Unit at University of Cape Town and is part of the Land Cover Change Consortium in South Africa, which involves understanding how climate change and land use change influences biodiversity.


Dr Inga Jacobs Executive Manager: Business Development, Marketing and Communication, The South African Water Research Commission 2013 GreenMatter Senior Fellow “Young professionals are playing a vital role in facilitating change in the water sector. We are dynamic enough to take change in our stride as WE are faced with the consequences of environmental threats. More than this, we aim to improve the way things are done in a fun and positive way, while still maintaining economic relevance and scientific excellence.�

Dr Inga Jacobs has been awarded the GreenMatter Senior Fellow award for her commitment to the development of other young professionals, particularly those in the water sector, and her personal contribution as a young leader.

Dr Jacobs is a political scientist by training with a focus on regional and international water governance in Africa, looking at cooperative governance in shared river basins in the Southern African and East African regions. This involves an attention to the sociopolitical and socio-economic landscapes that shape the way in which states and non-state actors negotiate rights and access to a shared water resource.


Currently, Dr Jacobs is the Executive Manager:

pay for this, Dr Jacobs has returned to South

Business Development, Marketing and Com-

Africa to contribute to the development of

munication for the Water Research Commis-

the country and its people. Her approach to

sion, the knowledge dissemination and re-

water politics has had a significant impact

search uptake arm for the WRC. Here, her role

locally, making a positive difference to ordi-

is to provide strategic monitoring support for

nary South Africans.

research trends in the water sector, and provide leadership direction, nationally and internationally, on the understanding of the water knowledge cycle in South Africa. While a highly published and recognised scientist at a young age, she has also dedicated time to the development of other young scientists and has played a significant leadership role at both national and international levels. She is actively involved in the Young Water Professionals (YWP) network, having served as its Global President and a Board member of the International Water Association. Currently, she

Post co-founding the Forum for Young Scholars in Trans-boundary Water Governance, she began to find ways to make young South Africans aware of the career opportunities in the water sector, how they can apply their seemingly unrelated social science skills to addressing very real problems in South Africa, and helping to build capacity. She has also contributed towards leadership discussions within the biodiversity sector on a voluntary basis, assisting in conceptual thinking and practical interventions.

serves as the Southern African YWP President and sits on the Water Institute for South Africa

Her other accolades include:

(WISA) Board.

2012: Young Scientist Water Research Award; 2011: M  ail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South

Having completed her doctoral studies overseas, sometimes holding down three jobs to

Africans; and 20017-2010: St. Andrews African Scholarship.


Asiphe Sahule Master’s Student – Water Resource Management, Rhodes University 2013 GreenMatter Fellow

“My studies have enabled me to share the knowledge I have gained with the rest of my community to create awareness of the effects of herbicides and insecticides that farmers use on water and aquatic life in rivers in our communities. It is important for communities to understand their role and how it impacts on the environment and adequate supply of quality water resources for future generations.”

Raised and supported by a single parent, Asiphe fully appreciates the value of higher education. She feels that Water Resource Management aids the development of strategies that ensure biodiversity is maintained. This facilitates the provision of ecosystem goods and services to improve the livelihoods of people dependent on them.


Letasha Hesqua Human Resources Officer, NCC Group 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“By providing educational support to a range of stakeholders, it allows the greater community to adopt different approaches to dealing with the human-wildlife conflict and its effects on biodiversity.”

Letasha’s professional interest is in training and development. She is also passionate about making an environmental difference in the community. She volunteers her time to three scout groups from disadvantaged communities in the Cape, by offering them basic environmental education and is planning to start environmental career guidance for students at high schools in the area.


Dr John Hanks Independent Consultant 2013 GreenMatter Senior Fellow

“Countries, especially the very poorest, need to protect the biodiversity and ecosystems that support life (clean water and air, soil nutrients, forests, fisheries and other ecosystems. Environmental education needs to move beyond simply creating an awareness of Africa’s extraordinary fauna and flora. It should become intimately entwined with issues of development, survival, livelihoods, improved quality of education and quality of life.”

Dr John Hanks has been awarded the GreenMatter Senior Fellow award for the leadership and dedication shown throughout his career to the promotion of biodiversity conservation, public awareness and skills development.

Dr Hanks has extensive experience in biodiversity issues throughout Southern Africa and internationally having had senior positions at, amongst others: WWF International (Director of Africa Programme), WWF-SA (CEO), Peace Parks Foundation (Executive Director), Conservation International (Director) and on numerous related advisory


boards. During his formal career, he was also

Service Award (for contribution to conser-

active in seeking to foster co-ordination and

vation in KwaZulu-Natal);

collaboration between the leading local conservation organisations.

1985: EWT Statesman Award (for services to conservation and development in southern Africa);

In addition to his continuing academic activities

1989: Officer of the Golden Ark – awarded by

he was instrumental in establishing the Southern

HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands

African Wildlife College (adjacent to the Kruger

(for work to save African wildlife);

National Park), which has played a transformative

1991: Safari Club International Conservationist

role in providing conservation education, training and skills development to protected area managers throughout Africa. He is currently Chairman

of the Year Award; 1995: Toastmasters’ International Communication and Leadership Award;

of the Board of Lapalala Wilderness School, and

1998: Bob Rutherford Memorial Trust Fund Award

is on the Board of Trustees of WWF-SA, the Green

(for services to conservation); and

Trust, and Outward Bound South Africa

2007: WWF SA’s Lonmin Conservation Award (for contribution to conservation of SA’s

His other accolades include:


1974: Zimbabwe Award (for outstanding achievement in service to one’s fellow man); 1981: Dr Edgar Brookes Award (for service to human freedom and endeavour); 1985: Claude Harris Foundation Community


Thembi Khoza Legislative Compliance Officer, SANParks 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“Scientists need to contribute meaningfully to the legislative process to ensure that legislation relevant to biodiversity and the environment is implementable, without compromising its legality.�

Thembi believes that water and food security challenges impact significantly on our efforts to eradicate poverty. Effective legislation needs to support changes to the way of living and innovating to survive the range of uncertainties our generation and the next will be faced with.


Katlego Motlhatlego Master’s Student – Ethnobotany, University of KwaZulu-Natal 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“The application of ethno-botanical medicine could potentially be a reliable approach for discovering potent new compounds to combat respiratory diseases.”

Katlego’s inclination to work with biodiversity and its impact on health stems from her childhood. As a sufferer of asthma, Katlego is determined to make a difference to the quality and availability of natural solutions for respiratory diseases. Katlego hopes to advance society by contributing to natural medications that have less harmful effects and would be able to provide more efficient treatment methods to improve quality of life.


Prof. Albert Modi Dean and Head of School: Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal 2013 GreenMatter Senior Fellow “Being a GreenMatter Senior Fellow affords me the opportunity to further relevant research, thereby influencing public policy and biodiversity stewardship through sustainable agriculture and rural economic development – two critical national issues.”

Prof. Albert Modi has been awarded the GreenMatter Senior Fellow award for his innovation and leadership in promoting sustainable agriculture, through both academic excellence and practical mentorship.

Prof. Modi has successfully led research projects and was pivotal in the establishment of the Ezemvelo Farmers Organisation, which focused on the small scale production of amadumbe (taro) for supply in commercial retail chains such as Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths. This project, the first of its kind in South Africa, has facilitated a sustainable model for community farming.

His knowledge of traditional/indigenous crops and their management has led to research that explores opportunities to


Picture courtesy Orange River Cellars/ MediaClubSouthAfrica.com, UKZN, Graeme Williams/MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

devise new varieties of crops that are drought tolerant.

In addition, Prof. Modi established and held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Provincial Government Science Institute. He is currently in a leadership position at The University of KwaZuluNatal, responsible for 14 disciplines.

He has published more than 45 peer-reviewed papers and numerous popular articles.

His other accolades include: 1993: FRD Scholarship (MScAgric), University of Natal; 1996-1999: Fulbright Scholarship (PhD), Ohio State

University, USA;

2008: The New York Academy of Sciences: Membership Award, New York, USA; 2008-1012: Young Affiliate, Third World Academy

of Sciences, Sub-Saharan Region;

2009: Agricultural Writers South Africa: Agricultural Writer Award (North) – Trophy; and 2011: Fellowship of the South African Society of Crop Production.


Mbulelo Dopolo Programme Manager, SANParks 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“The concept of reconciling and/or bridging the fisheries and conservation objectives is a thorny issue in South Africa, especially with a past that has neglected the livelihoods of previously disadvantaged communities due to the power relation dynamics that existed.�

Mbulelo grew up in a small town called Fterkstroolin and later moved to Queenstown to complete his schooling. His passion for marine protected areas was ignited during his undergraduate degree at Fort Hare. He feels strongly that our marine protected areas (MPAs) are perceived as token restricted areas, given that people continue to disregard a system that did not consult them as key stakeholders. He is therefore championing the call to review the spatial management of all those MPAs that were declared during the apartheid era, especially those in areas that are contested by communities.


Thuli Jaca Taxonomist, SANBI 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“Invasive alien species pose a significant threat to human livelihoods, economic development and biodiversity. These threats are likely to be exacerbated by climate change as environments become less hospitable to indigenous species.”

Born in KwaZulu-Natal and growing up in the Eastern Cape, Thuli’s love for biology was constantly acknowledged by her teacher, motivating her to pursue her tertiary studies despite financial difficulties. Through passion and determination she attained her qualifications and now assists protected area managers in raising awareness on invasive alien plants within nature reserves, identifying new invasions, management actions as well as building working relationships between SANBI staff, local municipalities and private reserve owners. She has also been instrumental in supporting and hosting interns in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation’s internship programme to assist unemployed science graduates and postgraduates to acquire practical work experience.


Dr Jeanne Nel Principle Researcher, CSIR 2013 GreenMatter Senior Fellow

“Conserving freshwater biodiversity is dependent on cooperation across many sectors that have a history of working separately and that are mandated by separate policies. It is critical at this point for role players to keep up the momentum that has already been achieved and develop a standalone policy on freshwater conservation in South Africa.�

Dr Jeanne Nel has been awarded the GreenMatter Senior Fellow award for her substantive contribution to national ecosystem management practices, through the promotion of trans-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder approaches and cross-organisational mentoring.

Dr Nel has been one of the most prominent role players in the emergence of the systematic approach to freshwater conservation planning. She has featured prominently in international meetings in this field, serves as the President of the Freshwater Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology (an international body of conservation scientists), and is a Board Member of the Freshwater Monitoring Working Group of GEOBON (the Group


on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation

Affairs, the South African Institute for Aquatic


Biodiversity (SAIAB), the South African National Parks (SANParks), and several provincial-level

Dr Nel has co-ordinated a number of large, inter-

departments and implementation agencies. The

disciplinary projects and, through her work, she

outcome of this project, the NFEPA Atlas, was

has created opportunities for, inspired, and nur-

launched by Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi, in

tured young scientists interested in working in

November 2011. It represents cutting-edge sci-

this field. She has also produced a remarkable

ence and one of the most significant advances

number of contract reports and peer reviewed

towards enabling the protection of freshwater

papers in high-impact journals.

ecosystems in South Africa.

An outstanding achievement of Dr Nel’s work

Her other accolades include:

to date has been her role as Project Leader and

2010: CSIR Innovation Award for most innova-

Principle Scientist on the National Freshwater

tive project of the year (NFEPA project);

Ecosystem Priority Areas project (NFEPA). As

2010: CSIR Best Scientific Publication Award;

Project Leader, she was responsible not only for

2011: Climate Change Leadership Award under

technical developments, but also for managing

the financial services category (for a project

a complex client and stakeholder network

on risk and resilience for the insurance

including the South African National Biodiversity

industry); and

Institute (SANBI), the CSIR, the Water Research

2012: Environmental Risk Management Award

Commission (WRC), the World Wide Fund for

of the Institute of Risk Management

Nature South Africa (WWF-SA), the Department

South Africa (for the above mentioned

of Water Affairs, the Department of Environmental

project for the insurance industry).


Gregg Brill PhD Student – Ecosystem services, University of Cape Town 2012 GreenMatter Fellow

“At a global scale, the problems of respecting and safeguarding the environment have been receiving increasing attention due to the growing consciousness that the time remaining to find effective solutions to correct management strategies of environmental services is rapidly running out.�

Gregg is a zealous champion for the environment, in South Africa and abroad. Following the tsunami disaster that befell Thailand in 2005, he volunteered with Help Phi Phi, an NGO programme set up to help rehabilitate the island. Using practical knowledge gained from his rehabilitation and disturbance ecology course at Rhodes University, he helped design and implement a revegetation programme. He has since done similar work in the Seychelles.


Sonwabo Mazinyo PhD Student – Environmental Science, University of Fort Hare 2013 GreenMatter Fellow

“Humans are integral to the environment. Meaningful and environmentally responsible contributions to society by today’s generation will determine the success of future generations in realising quality of life in the face of inclement climate change and variability.”

Prior to receiving his GreenMatter Fellowship award, Sonwabo supported himself and his studies through ad hoc jobs and menial labour. It is this drive that has led him to study the different ways through which people, particularly the poor, can mitigate the impacts of climate change and variability within their cultural, environmental and socio-economic context. He is hoping that the findings of his study can contribute towards better aligned policy frameworks for both the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs.


Picture courtesy of SANBI


Developing a consortium of support The GreenMatter Fellowship connects a community of outstanding biodiversity champions and leaders, enabling them to achieve their potential and serve as true ambassadors of South Africa’s natural wealth.

This is an ambitious project. Within ten years we hope to have created a generation of motivated leaders and change agents in the biodiversity sector, able and willing to take on the many challenges facing our country.

We realise that we cannot achieve this vision on our own and are actively seeking partners who share our passion for conservation and the development of talented young South Africans to join the programme consortium.


The GreenMatter Fellowship is implemented

Fellowship funds are administered by Ned-

through GreenMatter, a public-private initia-

bank Private Wealth.

tive championing biodiversity skills development, with and for the sector.

The Fellowship is seeking to create a consortium of support that will enable GreenMatter

The three founding partners of the Fellowship

Fellows to achieve their potential and serve

are the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, the

as true ambassadors of South Africa’s natural

Lewis Foundation and the South African


National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), three organisations that share the mission of con-

To learn more about the GreenMatter Fellow-

tributing to the conservation of South Africa’s

ship and how you could be involved, please

natural heritage.

contact Liz Robson: liz@greenmatter.co.za or +27 (0)11 447 5112.

Other supporters of the Fellowship include the Harry Crossley Foundation, in partnership

Please also refer to the GreenMatter website:

with the University of Cape Town and Stellen-

www.greenmatter.co.za to view updates

bosch University, and the CATHS SETA, in

and profiles of GreenMatter Fellows.

partnership with Rhodes University. The


Picture courtesy of Rodger Bosch/MediaClubSouthAfrica.com


Picture courtesy of Mary Alexander/MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

The GreenMatter Fellowship connects a community of outstanding biodiversity champions and leaders, enabling them to achieve their potential and serve as true ambassadors of South Africa’s natural wealth.

Contact: Liz Robson

| Tel: +27 (0)11 447 5112

Email: liz@greenmatter.co.za

| www.greenmatter.co.za

Profile for Chantal Ramcharan-Kotze

GreenMatter Fellowship brochure  

The GreenMatter Fellowship connects a community of outstanding biodiversity champions and leaders, enabling them to achieve their potential...

GreenMatter Fellowship brochure  

The GreenMatter Fellowship connects a community of outstanding biodiversity champions and leaders, enabling them to achieve their potential...


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