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Tshegofatso Munisi

2023 intern

Many of us cherish the site of a vast natural landscape where zebras and buck roam free, but for Tshegofatso Munisi, there is also something more exciting happening in a microscopic world. She is interested in the tiny molecules that make up the systems of animals’ bodies and this is where she sees her path to nature conservation.

Tshegofatso grew up and studied in Gauteng, completing her Master’s in Zoology. She has now been placed with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) for an internship and will be working in the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria as a geneticist.

We asked her a few questions to gain insight into what makes her passionate about molecular zoology and how she sees this playing a role in nature conservation:

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about biodiversity and nature conservation and using molecular zoology as a tool to aid in conservation efforts.

What inspired your choice of study?

As a child, I was always fascinated by nature and enjoyed playing outside and studying insect life cycles. It concerned me when I noticed the pollution problem in the river near our house and how many fish and insects had disappeared. My interest grew and this pushed me in the direction of zoology.

What excites you about your internship?

The research that SANBI does is fascinating, and I am excited about the skills I will acquire.

What are your expectations of this internship?

I expect to learn as much as I can and grow as a natural scientist and hopefully get closer to obtaining my Professional Natural Scientist designation from the South Africa Council for Natural Scientific Professions.
What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?
I hope to improve the state of the environment by teaching community members how to integrate nature conservation into our everyday lives. I look forward to a country where humans and nature can live in harmony, and not harm the other.

Who inspires you most and why?

My three nieces inspire me because of how hungry they are for knowledge about all the things the world has to offer. I believe that hunger for knowledge is a beautiful thing and seeing my nieces pursuing knowledge so passionately reminds me not to be complacent. The world is always evolving, and if we keep learning, we can navigate through those changes.

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