Alumna and society determined to preserve KZN nature and wildlife 

5 November 2019

For the past 19 years, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) lecturer and environmental scientist, Dr Cheryl Ogilvie, has been educating school leaners, adults and tribal leaders in the northern Kwazulu-Natal about harmonious human-environment co-existence. Dr Ogilvie has been working with the University’s Advancement and Partnerships Office (APO) since she assumed the role of managing the Ndumo Community Programme in 2000.

Dr Cheryl Ogilvie, affectionately known as ‘Nomzamo’ during her recent graduation during which she received a Doctor Technologiae: Nature Conversation.

Affectionately known as Nomzamo, Dr Ogilvy manages an Environmental Education Programme in the Ndumo Game Reserve on behalf of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. The Ndumo Community Programme started in 1998, with the support of the APO. Over the years, the APO, working with the Ndumo Community Programme team, has secured continuous support from funders such as the HCI Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme.  

The grim socio-economic conditions of the Ndumo community have had dire consequences on the Ndumo Game Reserve and surrounding areas. These problems included deforestation, pollution and poaching, eventually leading to environmental degradation. Community members washing their clothes in the rivers where they also obtain their drinking water contributed to the pollution problems. Deforestation problems resulted from community members using trees as a source of burning fuel. On the other hand, the communities justified poaching as a means to survive, because of their limited financial resources and lack of employment.

Samson Nkosi, Senior Development Officer at the APO said; “The Ndumo Community Programme is one example of how TUT joins hands with other stakeholders to solve demanding socio-economic problems in communities in an effort to unleash the great potential of valuable natural resources. “

According to Samson, the Ndumo Community Programme has a huge positive impact on the lives of communities in Ndumo. Recent research Dr Ogilvie has conducted proved that the programme was effective in creating and improving awareness of environmental issues. In addition, learners who participated in the programme have developed the capacity to move from knowledge to environmental awareness and finally to taking action. 

Dr Ogilvie joined the select group of TUT doctoral graduates when she received her D-Tech degree in Nature Conservation during the 2019 Spring graduations at the University’s Pretoria Campus.

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