Meet Nomusa Mkhungo and her associate, Fi Mntungwa. Nomusa works for an NGO focussing on Leadership as well as Environmental Issues and Biodiversity. She had the idea of starting a bird club for teenagers in KwaMashu with the dual purpose of sharing her love of birds and engendering an interest in young people, hence the name, Seeds of Tomorrow.
I began chatting to her at a bird call course that we both attended at Paradise Valley to which she had also brought a whole bunch of keen youngsters. She needed someone to assist her in taking the club on an outing which I was thrilled to be able to do. Initiatives like this need to be supported and encouraged.
We arranged an outing in Springside Nature Reserve, Hillcrest.
Most of these young girls, ranging in age from 13 to 21, attend Nqabakazulu Comprehensive High School in KwaMashu. They were interested and engaged. Very keen. They also knew exactly how to conduct themselves in a nature reserve. This is thanks to Nomusa. I wondered how they knew so many bird names as they haven’t been on many outings. They told me that Nomusa holds workshops and teaches them about birds. It was fun for them to apply their knowledge in the outdoors.
I discovered that they only have 3 pairs of binoculars which they share amongst themselves. There are 28 in the club but they only take 10 at a time in outings, to keep them manageable. I managed to rustle up funds to get them 3 more pairs of binos and an old pair that we no longer use, bringing them to 7 pairs. This meant more of them could get a proper look at the birds. If we could somehow get them another 3 pairs that would be wonderful. The binoculars have been donated to the club so that if people come and go, the binoculars will not go with them.
We heard a Black-collared Barbet; they had all heard it before without knowing what it was. Then we saw it and it was lovely to see the excitement as they put the bird together with its call.
The club has 3 Sasol Field Guides and every time we saw a bird, they all wanted to see it in the book; Nomusa’s good training paying off again. We had an interesting discussion regarding a Female Amethyst which we originally thought was an Olive Sunbird.
Afterwards we had refreshments and a bird quiz. I played calls from my Roberts app and the first to get a call right, received a Bird of the Year brooch which for 2016 is the Sociable Weaver link below). It was good fun and I look forward to another outing with the Seeds of Tomorrow.