Condé Nast Traveler recently released a list celebrating leading women from all walks of the globe for International Women’s Day. One such woman featured in the luxury mag is none other than Zandile Ndhlovu, SA’s first black free-diving instructor!
Nothing short of a mermaid herself, Zandile’s work involves educating young children from townships, many of whom have not been up close and personal with the ocean, by taking them out on snorkelling excursions, teaching them about plastic pollution, overfishing, marine habitats, and climate conservation.
In her interview with Condé Nast Traveler, she says:
“When you think of ocean spaces, Black communities often feel like that’s a white space. I knew I wanted to change the narrative.”
Zandile first took up free-diving in a trip to Bali in 2016, and hasn’t looked back since.
“When I found the ocean, it felt like finding home,”
“Being someone who’s never really fit in, to be able to find a place where you didn’t have to pretend to be anything else but yourself was just so incredibly empowering.”
Zandile is also at the helm of another inspiring project, where she creates safe gathering spaces or ‘hubs of hope’ for SA’s underprivileged children, mostly living in townships, with her first hub open in Cape Town’s Langa district. She says:
“Many of the kids live under many hard conditions – gender-based violence, drugs, poverty…”
“What would it mean to have a hub of hope that is rooted in the ocean but lives in the community?”
Zandile’s aim is to introduce ocean and conservation into these kids’ lives, exposing all the ‘wonder that lies beneath the waves’ and encouraging them to explore and connect with the nature around them.
“As you enable communities to believe that the oceans belong to them too, they become new custodians and stakeholders and voices that protect these oceans.”
In her interivew with Condé Nast Traveler, she explains the importance she places on exposing SA’s youth to the great big blue and beyond:
“Sometimes we can’t dream things we don’t see.”
Feature Image: Facebook / Zandile Ndhlovu