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Khanyisa Tsolo

2023 intern

Khanyisa Tsolo has a strong identity as someone who brings together different belief systems: she is extremely proud of her Xhosa heritage and is also a devout Christian. Since high school, she has held strong values about protecting the environment, and after her undergraduate studies, she went on to pursue an Honours in Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at Makhanda (Rhodes) University.

Khanyisa was chosen for an internship at TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, where she will be assisting with projects that work towards sustainable models for wildlife trade.

What are you passionate about?

I am extremely passionate about the environment, climate action and justice, conservation and sustainable development. An effective conservation approach is one that does not separate humans from nature.

What inspired your choice of study?

My interest in the environment was sparked in high school during our geography classes. That is where I became familiar with the beauty that endows the Earth, its processes, its benefits and the services it provides to society. Therefore, after matric, I decided to pursue a degree in Environmental Sciences. I was, however, then accepted for Marine Sciences, and I enrolled. This journey has been a rollercoaster of a ride, but it is exciting, and I have no regrets.

What excites you about your internship?

I believe that this internship will enrich my knowledge and professional growth in a field in which I am extremely passionate. I am eager to gain new experiences and skills and broaden my understanding of conservation. I believe this WWF internship will contribute to my development in the best possible way.

What are your expectations of this internship?

I aim to contribute to all TRAFFIC’s projects and be of service in whatever capacity is required of me. I also hope this internship will help me to grow professionally and build the kind of character I need to succeed in the workplace.

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?

I would like to engage with ordinary people on environmental issues and encourage them to take action. My hope is that such engagements will empower people to adopt sustainable practices. Finally, I want to design solutions that promote equity and access to basic resources and protect those most vulnerable to environmental change.

Who inspires you most and why?

I am inspired by young black women who are trailblazers, unapologetically thriving in their careers. These include Zandile Ndhlovu (the first black African female freediving instructor), Sophumelela Qoma (who co-owns the Shark Research Unit), Londiwe Ngcobo (the first female dredge master), Zoleka Philander (a deep-sea researcher), Nompumelelo Ledwaba (the founder of Wisdom and Wellness), Buyisile Mncina (a very perceptive counselling psychologist) and Mercy Nqandeka (an agriculturalist and author), to name a few. I am certain that the list will grow as I meet other amazing women.

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