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Prinavin Naidu

2021 Intern

Prinavin Naidu’s fascination for nature was evident from an early age. He used to explore the woodland forests and grasslands of KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) trying to make sense of the interactions between plants and animals This curiosity led him to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he obtained his Bachelors and Honours degree in Biological Sciences and then on to Rhodes University for a Master’s in Botany.

As a Taxonomy Research intern at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), based at the KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium, Prinavin continues the journey he started as a child. We asked him to take us along:

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about preserving and conserving our indigenous fauna and flora. Its variety and variability make South Africa one of the world’s most cherished biodiversity hotspots, with many of the species found nowhere else in the world.

I am also passionate about being a strong voice for our threatened, rare and endangered species and the continued preservation of our indigenous knowledge.

What inspired your choice of study?
I grew up on a farm in Kearsney on the outskirts of KwaDukuza, a city formerly known as Stanger. I had a lot of adventures in my childhood. One of the activities I liked the most was to scout around the small woodlands and open grasslands surrounding the farm. These experiences inspired me to seek ways to understand the complex processes in nature and how the world we live in came to be. That’s how I chose to do my degrees in Biological Sciences and Botany.

What excites you about your internship?
I am delighted to wake up every morning and do what I love!
South Africa has about 20 000 known plant species, which makes up approximately 10% of all described species globally. Working on a few of these plants and learning how people use them brings me great joy in my internship.

Furthermore, finding solutions that contribute to the conservation of local species is the best part of my research-focused role.

What are your expectations of this internship?
I wish to enhance and refine my existing skills while developing new ones to become more employable within the biodiversity sector. I also want to contribute to the growing pool of knowledge and expertise in this field.

When I complete the internship, I want to feel confident about my knowledge and new skills. I also want my work to impact and benefit the indigenous plant knowledge of both local and scientific communities.

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?
I wish to discover and describe new species of plants within South Africa and contribute to the body of knowledge in taxonomy.

Human capacity development, the transfer of green skills and knowledge, and the protection of local communities also form an important part of nature conservation and sustainability. I want to be a part of this too.

Who inspires you the most and why?
My parents inspire me because they have shown me that life is not about your beginnings but rather your destination. I am hopeful that my work and passion for nature conservation will also inspire my children one day.

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