Tanganedzani Tshitavhe is a Master of Environmental Sciences student under the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture. Her dissertation focused on the “Effects of climate variability on citrus production and rural livelihoods in Mopani District Municipality, South Africa”, supervised by Mr Edmore Kori (UNIVEN) and Prof Hector Chikoore of the University of North-west. Her research interests include climatology, atmospheric science, agricultural production, and rural development. Tanganedzani is part of the 2022/2023 polar expedition overwintering team to the Sub-Antarctic Marion Island as a Meteorological Technician onboard the SA Agulhas II polar research vessel.
Tanganedzani will be one of the 20 residents from 12 April 2022 to June 2023. She will be actively participating in the running of surface meteorological and atmospheric research projects assigned by the Marine Section of the South African Weather Service and Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment. Moreover, she will be performing surface meteorological observations, conducting upper-air weather balloon releases, maintaining, and verifying equipment at the remote station of Marion Island.
Meteorological observations in a remote area are essential for predicting severe weather events and issuing of warnings. Warnings are especially important in cases of approaching severe storms, with potential to harm lives and property, that could make landfall. In addition, the meteorological data collected is accurate for use by forecasters, climate scientists or researchers in South Africa and anywhere worldwide. Aviation as well as sea and ocean navigation also use the data intensively and extensively.
This opportunity is a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”, and Tanganedzani is thrilled to be part of the overwintering team. She is looking forward to exploring the island during her 15-month stay in utter isolation until the next relief team arrives. Ms Tshitavhe is dedicated to advancing women’s representation in science by learning and sharing her expertise. She is committed to working for the environment and for the betterment of communities.
Marion Island is one of the two Prince Edward Islands remotely located in the SubAntarctic Southern Indian Ocean (3476 kilometres from the South Pole). The islands are of volcanic origin and are a Marine Protected Area and a Special Nature Reserve under the South African Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, No. 57 of 2003. As a result, research and conservation management are the only activities permitted on the island. The only human inhabitants (about 20 individuals) in Marion Island are the staff of a meteorological and biological research station managed by the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP).
Tanganedzani attributes this success to passion, dedication, discipline, and sheer hard work. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Edmore Kori, her research project supervisor and mentor, for igniting her passion in science and research. She went on to say that she cherishes the years she had the privilege of working under his guidance and will proudly carry the everlasting influence of his academic expertise and human virtue.
She has worked as an academic writing consultant and a tutor at the University of Venda, responsible for Geography tutorials, monitoring and improving students’ academic performance, assisting postgraduates and undergraduates with academic writing skills. She also worked as a project assistant for the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme Initiative (GEF SGP) in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, under the Institute for Rural Development, University of Venda, where she was providing mentorship, capacity development and support to teams implementing the funded projects, assisting with documentation of project activities, processes, and outputs. She was also the coordinator of the 2021 Mini-Habitable Planet Workshop School Programme under the Applied Centre for Climate Change and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS).
She is currently the deputy secretary of the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (VBR Board), a member of the South African Youth Biodiversity Network (SAYBN), Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), a Black Women in Science (BWIS) fellow, co-founder and director of Venus Environmental Services and operations manager of Waste Away Foundation (NPO). She volunteers and participates in community development programmes in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve. Additionally, she is a firm believer of dedication, discipline, and consistency.
She said she believes that there is nothing a person cannot accomplish if they apply their mind and time to it. “We often set our own limits based on general beliefs that society or others impose on us. It is crucial that we break past these (fictitious) barriers,” said Tanganedzani Tshitavhe.
Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 24 March 2022