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Intern Bongani Ntombela

Bongani Ntombela

2019 Intern

For Bongani Ntombela, food security is about ensuring safe and nutritious food for everyone.

Growing up in the small rural village of Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal, Bongani experienced and witnessed the struggles of trying to make ends meet. His family and community worked tirelessly to secure a consistent supply of food with limited resources, operating under adverse and ever-changing environmental conditions.

He tells us how these conditions influenced his career path:

What motivated your career choice?
My career choice is not something that happened by chance. It was influenced and moulded by my background. I developed an interest in sustainable agricultural production so that I can contribute towards improving food security and environmental health.

My studies, from undergraduate to my Master’s degree in Agronomy have taught me a lot about food production, creating healthier food and managing the environmental impacts of agriculture. I believe that this, together with the experience that I will gain from this internship will help me in fulfilling my goal of contributing to food security in South Africa.
What do you hope to gain from the internship?
As a WWF Agricultural advisor intern at the Spar Group, I hope to gain more knowledge on sustainable agriculture. Specifically how an Agriculturalist like me can develop practical interventions in our production systems that will help us play a significant role in managing climate change.

What excites you the most about the internship?
As an Agricultural Science graduate I had never imagined myself working in the retail industry. However, I now fully understand the reason I am here, and how agriculture and retail converge, thus presenting exciting opportunities for broadening my career prospects.

The internship will also provide me with a chance to work with smallholder farmers and help them adopt sustainable agricultural practices. Lastly, being associated with WWF is a big thing for me because it will sharpen my knowledge and skills around environmental issues going forward.

What do you think is the biggest environmental issue the world is facing right now?
We are already witnessing the devastating effects of climate change all over the world. It will get worse if there are no urgent measures to curb further global warming.

What contribution do you wish to make to the well-being of people and nature?
I want to advocate for sustainable and climate-smart agriculture and agroecology. I want to do this at grassroots level, especially among smallholder farmers in rural areas, because most of them do not have access to this critical information. I also wish to influence South Africa’s policy on sustainable agriculture.

If you had a chance to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would improve food security for the poor and marginalised communities.
No family should go to bed hungry. It should not only be about quantity but emphasise nutritious and safe food.

Who do you admire the most and why?
Wangari Maathai – a Kenyan environmental, social and political activist.

She was born in a small village, but went on to become a world-renowned and respected environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Her grassroots approach in environmental awareness is one of the inspiring African stories of our time. It sends a clear message that regardless of who and where you are, you can make a difference, and your actions can make a huge impact worldwide.

What role do you think your generation could play in creating a better world for all?
As the effects of climate change threaten our future, it is imperative that we become activists for the implementation of policies and practices that will mitigate against the further global warming of our planet.

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