I Joined the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2018 through a bursary scheme programme when I was doing my second year studies in Nature Conservation at the Tshwane University of Technology.
I was fortunate to be placed in Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve. This is where I met my mentor and coach Mr Custan Mavhungu Malima.This Youth Month message is dedicated to people like him who are willing to share their life and professional experiences to inspire young South Africans to aspire to excel in bringing positive change. I hope more people will realise the importance of guiding and taking in young people under their wing to mentor them to reach their potential, as Mr Malima has done for me and many other young people he has worked with before and during my tenure.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing me with a chance and oversight on my work integrated learning for me to acquire my National Diploma in Nature Conservation. It was crucial for me to have a mentor like you. You provided me and other interns with a platform to never doubt ourselves, but become confident enough to be innovative, ambitious and goal orientated.
As one of many boys who grew up in the dusty streets of Sebokeng township in the Vaal, it was a challenge to find a professional mentor, especially in conservation and resource management streams. Your mentoring of students towards improving their skills to become advocates of the environment is valuable and important. This Youth Month would be about celebrating and appreciating the elders and professionals that helped us to proportionate ourselves in the right direction of life towards realising our ambitions.
There is a lot of temptation that we come across as young people, we easily get caught up in society’s ills. Young people who are trapped in substance abuse need to realise the need toreach out for help. Mentors can play a crucial role to assist youth in most complex and dynamic challenges that we come across. South Africa has a lot of untapped talent which needs a spark and right platforms to be reignited. Mentors can redirect the energy to ensure that young people see their role in nation building as future adults and decision makers.
You have always emphasised the importance of casting our networking beyond our comfort zones. You always encouraged us to mingle with other organisations during our many activities where we had opportunities to meet and work with other stakeholders. You indicated that networking increases the chances of us meeting potential employers. It was really a privilege to be exposed to different institutions mandated to implement the legislation of environment set to promote transformational development.
More young people should look up to you as I did, not only academically, but also regarding life in general. I took every advice you gave us seriously. I was also looking forward to have you at my graduation ceremony as you always do with all the young people you’ve mentored. Unfortunately, this global pandemic called Covid-19 turned our plans upside down. It would have been an honour to have you there on the day so that you meet my grandma, who holds you in high regard for watching over us during the 12-month period of practical work under your supervision. She was also looking forward to witness her sacrifices to give me education being realised by seeing me walking the podium to receive my qualification in a gown.Your dedication and commitment to see young people getting empowered makes you to take on mentorship as though it forms part of your formal job. God bless you for the great job you’re doing.
Moeketsi has joined GDARD’s the Biodiversity Management Directorate Permits unit in Umnotho House as his second phase of GDARD internship. The section is mandated toimplement the Gauteng Nature Conservation Ordinance 12 Of 1983. They also investigate environmental digressions, provide permits to individuals who want to own wildfire species.The permits are issued after a proper assessment to determine if the property is conducive to accommodate the species acquired is conducted.
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