World Wetlands Day

Henry Christiaanse, who is based at the Durbanville Nature Reserve.

Today marks World Wetlands Day which aims to raise awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet.

This year, the City is celebrating Henry Christiaanse, who is based at the Durbanville Nature Reserve, which includes the wetlands at Uitkamp and Botterblom sections.

The Uitkamp Wetland Nature Reserve is one of the City’s nature reserves aimed at protecting and conserving the city’s natural areas and biodiversity heritage.

Mr Christiaanse lives in Fisantekraal and has been working for the City for 27 years now.

He started off as a general worker, fell in love with nature, and was determined to do his part to protect and conserve it. Thanks to his dedication, he was then promoted to a permanent position as a small plant operator. He worked his way up and is now a field ranger.

“The highlight of my career is going back to school and passing Grade 9 at my age. I want to carry on until I finish matric. This achievement shows me that I can achieve anything in life as long as I put my mind and soul into it. I would also never have done it without the support of my superiors. I am grateful to my former supervisor Sandiso Kraai for seeing the potential in me and encouraging me to go back to school,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said: “Henry is such an inspirational man; he did not wait for opportunities but created them. Cape Town and our country need more people like him. We are a City of opportunity and one of our key objectives is to create an institutional culture where all talent can thrive. This rings true for Henry: a talented man who just needed a conducive environment to nurture his talent. He saw the opportunity presented to him and took it with both hands. With such an attitude, the sky is the limit for Henry.”

The City’s Environmental Management Department usually holds educational programmes to commemorate this day, but due to the national lockdown, there are no planned programmes this year.