August is Women’s Month in SA and the City of Cape Town has put a spotlight on two female rangers who work at the Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve in Cape Town, outlining how they started from humble beginnings but worked their way up the ranks to fulfil a passion for the environment.
Khuselwa Mabuyane and Cindy Adams both started their careers as interns and are now permanent employees of the City of Cape Town at Witzands.
“Stories like these warm my heart because they show that we are indeed making progress possible, together. They [Mabuyane and Adams] 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, Marian Nieuwoudt.
Mabuyane is the Reserve Supervisor at Witzands and manages a team of field rangers, students and interns. She holds a National Diploma in Nature Conservation and has plans to study further. Her aim is to gather all the experience needed to be a line manager and continue to grow within the City.
She said the beauty of nature and the people who continuously made efforts to protect and restore nature, inspired her in her work. “I specifically enjoy alien clearing [the removal of non-indigenous flora], restoration projects and doing foot patrols at my site to discover all the flowering plants,” she said, adding that she especially favoured succulents.
Adams has been a permanent employee of the City for just over a year now and her work at Witzands entails controlling invasive alien species and dealing with environmental disasters such as fires, floods and oil spills.
She is passionate about the educational aspect of her career. “Educating young individuals about their surroundings, seeing them smile and making their future look a bit brighter always brings joy to my heart,” she said.
Adams hopes to see the reserve expanding and said the surrounding communities were working together with the City now that the children were more educated on environmental issues.
With a qualification in Conservation Guardianship, Adams is studying towards an additional qualification in the environmental field and aspires to be promoted.
“Khuselwa and Cindy are so inspirational – their stories demonstrate that your starting point does not define you. Not only do they love their jobs, but they are very passionate about their work environment,” said Nieuwoudt.