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Zikhona Mtwa

2023 Intern

Zikhona Mtwa grew up in Bizana in the Eastern Cape and saw firsthand how innovation and resilience exist side-by-side with difficulties and financial stresses. Today she is passionate about financial education and ways in which people can empower themselves.

Zikhona completed her Master’s degree in Development Studies at Makhanda (Rhodes) University and has been placed as an intern with the South African Climate Action Network (SACAN) where she will assist with research, events, stakeholder engagement, and content management.

We spoke to her about the life experiences that shaped her and how she plans for a career path dedicated to improving the lives of others:

What are you passionate about?

To give back to the society that birthed me, I am passionate about community engagement and interdisciplinary social science research that makes a difference. I also have a keen interest in the development of rural spaces.

What inspired your choice of study?

After finishing matric, I enrolled in school again to upgrade my marks in mathematics and science so I could pursue a career in science. However, during that year, I was introduced to the field of social science and thus changed direction. I was in the Extended Studies Programme and had the best lecturer, who made me fall in love with sociology and politics, which I believe can make a positive difference in society. Development Studies can help us to understand human behaviour and policies that can improve the human condition, so I wanted to follow this path.

What excites you about your internship?

I am excited to participate in meaningful work for the environment where both people and nature can thrive. I look forward to gaining work experience, practical workplace training and working with a diverse group of people.

What are your expectations of this internship?

My expectation for this internship at SACAN is to gain new skills and knowledge, as well as establish networks that will enable further personal and professional development.

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

I hope to contribute to research and projects that will promote environmental education and inform policy at a local, national and international level towards a sustainable future for all.

Who inspires you most and why?

My mother has always been my greatest source of inspiration. She is the embodiment of love and care. She has taught me that through hard work, self-belief, perseverance and faith in God, I can live and achieve all my dreams.

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