City of Cape Town’s women rangers blooming in the field
This Women’s Month, the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Branch puts a spotlight on two female rangers, Khuselwa Mabuyane and Cindy Adams, who are currently working at the Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve.
Khuselwa, aged 32, started off as an intern for Groen Sebenza, a South African National Biodiversity Institute initiative and then as an intern at the City of Cape Town. Later, she became an environmental education officer intern based at the Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve for about two years. In late 2015, she was permanently appointed as a visitor access controller officer at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, a position she held until February 2020. Today, she is the reserve supervisor. She has been working for the city for seven years now. Khuselwa holds a National Diploma in Nature Conservation and has plans to study further towards a Btech in Nature Conservation. Her aim is to gather all the experience needed to be a line manager in years to come and continue to grow within the city.
Khuselwa’s daily work entails the operations of the Klein Dassenberg Conservation Area of Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve. She plans and executes conservation tasks for the site, while managing a team of field rangers, students and interns. Khuselwa says that the beauty of nature when undisturbed, the image of flora and fauna in their uninvaded space, and the people that continuously make efforts to protect and restore nature, inspire her to show up for her job every day.
She added, “I specifically enjoy alien clearing, restoration projects and doing foot patrols at my site to discover all the flowering plants. My favourite species are Gladiolus, Lachenalia and all the succulent plant species.”
The highlights of her job so far are working in different aspects of conservation, being in the field, running environmental education programmes, visitor controller and being part of management.
24-year-old Cindy Adams also started off as an intern and has secured permanent employment as a City of Cape Town worker for a year and four months now. Her work entails controlling alien invasive species, dealing with environmental disasters such as uncontrollable fires, floods and spills, among others. She started her career with the experience she acquired when she worked as a volunteer for six months in 2016, and afterwards on a learnership with the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust. Both of these positions were at the City’s reserves. Cindy has a qualification in Conservation Guardianship and is studying part-time towards a qualification in the environmental field.
Cindy’s love for nature has blossomed since she was in matric and working in this field makes her realise how much the little things count, and that small changes have an impact on the major things happening within nature itself. She loves that she is part of something bigger. “Educating young individuals about their surroundings, seeing them smile and making their future look a bit brighter always brings joy to my heart,” said Cindy.
She aspires to see the reserve expanding and she feels that the surrounding communities are starting to work together with the City. Children are more educated now and are exploring, as opposed to the teachers just reading them stories from books. She hopes to be promoted to a new position to further her ideas and the goals she has set herself.
The work has not been without challenges, some communities depend on wood harvesting to provide for their families, thus, making it hard to control illegal entries; the reserve’s fencing has been stolen before and dealing with difficult clients make for interesting times.
“Stories like these warm my heart because they show that we are indeed making progress possible, together. Both women started off as interns but now are permanent City employees. They are exposed to opportunities that help them develop their skills, thus contributing to empowering them with knowledge, ultimately leading them to realise their full potential,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.
“Khuselwa and Cindy are so inspirational. Their stories demonstrate your starting point does not define you. Not only do they love their jobs but they are very passionate about their work environment. I salute them both and wish them everything of the best with their studies. They are taking advantage of every opportunity presented to them. Phambili makhosikazi, phambili,” said Alderman Nieuwoudt.
Source: Media Office, City of Cape Town