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Vhonani Mulaudzi

2023 Intern

Vhonani Mulaudzi loves the mysterious world of words as much as she loves the glory of nature. If she does not have her nose buried in a poetry book, she is brushing up on the latest research about wildlife management. From Limpopo, Vhonani completed her undergraduate degree and Honours in Zoology at the University of Venda for Science and Technology, and then attended the Université de Rennes 1 in France where she completed a Master’s degree in Human and Animal Behaviour.  

She was chosen for an internship at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) where she will be working as a conservation scientist in SANBI’s Sustainable Wildlife Economies Project.We asked her a few questions to find out more about what inspires her and how she envisages the path ahead:

What are you passionate about?

I am fascinated by all things in nature and am passionate about nature conservation, and I love finding practical ways in which this can be done. I love learning about sustainable ways of using natural resources.

What inspired your choice of study?

My curiosity and love for nature inspired my choice of study. The community I grew up in depends on natural resources for survival, from water in the river to firewood from trees. I was curious to learn how all these relationships work.

What excites you about your internship?

I am excited that the work focuses on sustainability and look forward to working closely with communities. Playing a role in informing policies or influencing them is exciting for me. I am also excited by the fieldwork and communicating our findings in written reports.

What are your expectations of this internship?

I hope to learn as much as I can about wildlife economies and advocate for sustainable use of natural resources. I hope that the internship gives me a platform to build my confidence in a work environment and build new networks with relevant people in my line of work.

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

I would love to show that nature and people can co-exist in a sustainable manner. I hope to showcase this through experimental research and then convey it to others, especially those who depend on nature for everyday needs.

Who inspires you most and why?

Maya Angelou inspires me. Besides our common love of poetry, I am inspired by her resilience. She went through so much as a young female and when all her circumstances could have discouraged her, she rose above it and chased her dreams. She inspires me to reach higher and believe I am worth all the things I can dream of. 

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