Meet Nontuthuzelo Khonyashe…
Ten years of working in the forestry industry has seen Nontuthuzela move from a volunteer in the former Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) plantations to a Forestry Development Officer at Chris Hani District municipality. During this time I have obtained a diploma in Social Forestry and am currently enrolled at NMU undertaking a B-Tech in Forestry.
“I am passionate about contributing to the rural economy and local employment through forestry, which is why I am the member of Eastern Cape Forestry Sector Forum and on the curriculum advisory committee for Fort Cox Agriculture and Forestry Training Institute,” she said.
She is an entrepreneur by nature and has established a nursery producing commercial seedlings in the Eastern Cape that is owned by the youth in the area. “My role has been in the provision of technical support and training, as well as forging commercial partnerships with corporate forestry companies such as PG Bision and Hans Meresky that has resulted in offtake agreement. I have also established a charcoal manufacturing project in Engcobo, which is also owned by local youth of the surrounding villages who I facilitate in the same way,” said Nontuthuzelo.
“One of my proudest achievements is the development of a Foresters Facebook Group, which is rich in information for aspiring and established foresters alike. It is also accessible with, or without, data bundles. This is my way of addressing a gap in the amount of developmental information reaching people in rural communities,” she stated.
When asked about her aspirations in life, she told us that she aspires to influence Eastern Cape community foresters to pursue their dreams and reach greater heights. And as a young, motivated, black woman, she want to be part of an industry where female foresters become entrepreneurs by participating in afforestation and rehabilitation programs within their communities.
Nontuthuzelo is a true embodiment of a hardworking women who strives to achieve great things in life. Her drive and passion for what she does makes her ten times worthy of a celebration! Keep on keeping on!