Rudzani Silima (Rudzi) have from a young age, always known that she would pursue a career in environmental conservation and science. “I grew up in the very small town of Louis Trichardt, surrounded by nature. Having a great attitude in subjects such as science, math, biology and geography. It was a no brainer to start my undergrad career in Marine Science at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. CPUT not only provided the academic expertise that I would need in the future but also, in 2017, I was placed at the SAEON Egagasini node for my work integrated learning. This opened the floodgates to more networking and career building opportunities.

                           (l-r: Rudzi and Nompumelelo(DEFF),weighing my luggage, Ria Olivier(ALSA) sent me on my trip, during transit I said goodbye to my family) To date I have attained a collection of prizes from my university and conferences, further validating my determination to advocate for the oceans and our planet. As the best Seamester student I was chosen to be the champion for the Gateway to Antarctica City of Cape Town Earlier this year, with the help of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa , the National Research Foundation and the Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries, I was able to make my first trip to Antarctica.

 The Antarctic Cities Youth Expedition, a collaboration between 5 cities, an expedition with five young and vibrant individuals, who share a common passion for the Antarctic environment. A product of the expedition was the founding of the Antarctic Youth Coalition, which aims to connect the five gateway cities, and to encourage sustainable consumption and practises within the cities for the sake of the Antarctic landscape. (image left waiting for our flight at Punta Arenas to Antarctica. Right: Visiting the Uruguay Station on Antarctica

There are many controversies related to climate change today, however, in Antarctica there is physical evidence that climate change is happening right now and not in some distant future. Therefore, the formation of the Antarctic Youth Coalition couldn’t be more perfectly timed. The AYC, hence from now on aims to make accessible the very important science done in the Southern Ocean to everyday citizens in the five gateway cities but also all around the world. Listen to Rudzi while being part of ACYE, video made by project leader Prof Juan Salazar

“Therefore, all of us, common or otherwise, share the responsibility for a healthy, thriving Antarctica and our whole planet! My parting word, specifically to us young people is to never give up on yourself and never give up on your dreams. All of us have the potential to change the world in our own very unique and exciting ways”

(Images by ACYE group and text supplied by Rudzi Silima and ALSA)

© South African National Antarctic Programme • Managed and administered by Antarctic Legacy of South Africa • Photo Credits
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