Marina Khoza

Marina Khoza

Junior Lecturer: Applied Learning & Research Department

“The preservation of our environment is not just a gift to the future; it is a responsibility bestowed upon us by the knowledge of our interconnected existence with nature.”

Biography

Marina Khoza, a native of Mkhuhlu, spent a considerable portion of her formative years in the community adjacent to the Kruger National Park, fostering a profound appreciation for nature. Originally embarking on chemical engineering studies at UCT, she redirected her career toward Zoology and Botany in 2015, following three years of intensive engineering studies. Marina earned her undergraduate degree in Botany and Zoology from Rhodes University, a period during which her commitment to conservation and natural resource management flourished. Her MSc research focussed primarily on savanna ecology, particularly examining the impact of changing tree cover on the herbaceous layer and its implications for savanna ecosystem dynamics.

Marina’s journey into environmental advocacy began when she became involved in community environmental projects, motivated by the declining condition of the natural resources in her neighbourhood. Beyond the classroom, Marina co-founded the “Basisani Mkhuhlu” environmental awareness campaign in her hometown of Mkhuhlu. Her devotion to sustainable environmental practices is demonstrated by her participation in fundraising campaigns for neighbourhood clean up and glass recycling projects. Marina also actively supports and takes part in initiatives run by the Nsasani Trust/OTS in Skukuza (Kruger National Park) that aim to develop the leadership and academic potential of young women in science.

Recognized as the top three finalist in the Global innovation challenge, Beyond Tourism in Africa Challenge (Hosted by WWF Africa, Africa Leadership University and, the Luc Hoffman Institute) in 2021, Marina showcased her team’s innovative ideas for sustainable community benefit from wildlife areas.

Marina earned her master’s degree in savanna ecology in 2022 (completed in 2021). She expanded her horizons after graduating by working as a public middle school English teacher in South Korea for one and a half years, where she immersed herself in a diverse cultural and environmental landscape. Marina is currently a junior lecturer in the Applied Learning and Research Department where she is gaining more knowledge and skills related to the world of conservation research and learning. In the near future, Marina hopes to pursue a Ph.D., in savannah ecology.