The Umzi Wethu (our home) youth development training course provides training for previously disadvantaged youth. The course incorporates the following innovative elements: (1) a mentorship support programme; (2) access to wellness, group and individual counselling and psychological support; (3) assists the students in finding paid internship placements and supports them in securing jobs, post training. 

The CCFA, together with the WFA, intend to continue to monitor graduates from the Siyazenzela and Umzi Wethu courses as they move onto their various career paths.

Past records have proven that 75% of these graduates maintain their jobs in the first two years following course completion. Local businesses, including Mantis properties have gained reliable staff through these programs.

Top graduates from the Siyanzenzela Training Course are selected to complete the  Umzi Wethu Programme.  The programme entails a FGASA vocational training course at Ulovane Environmental Training Academy in the Eastern Cape

Project Update 


The top three students from the CCFA Siyazenzela course, Lumanyano, Sinethemba and Simemkele began their training at Ulovane, on vocational scholarships sponsored by CCFA, in January 2020.  The young graduates received their study material on graduation day in order to start familiarising themselves with the terminology.  WFA representatives and Ulovane facilitators continued interacting with the learners in order to monitor their progress. Clementine Ngobeni from SANParks committed to involving the learners in activities around the park to get them ready for their course.

Subjects in the FGASA curriculum include:

  • An Introduction to the Eco-Tourism Industry
  • Creating a Guided experience
  • Field Guiding as a career
  • Astronomy
  • Geology
  • Climatology
  • Biomes
  • Taxonomy
  • Ecology
  • Grasses and Trees
  • Arthropods
  • Amphibians Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Historical Human Habitation
  • Conservation Management

In addition to the Apprentice Field Guide curriculum, Ulovane added the following modules to enhance the guiding skills of the students and to prepare them thoroughly for the ecotourism industry:

  • Vehicle skills and 4X4 Driving skills
  • Tracking skills
  • Wilderness First Aid Level 2
  • Wildflowers
  • Interpretive skills
  • Hospitality skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Photography skills

All three men agreed that apart from the physical skills learnt during the ten-week course, the experience helped them become better people.  All mentioned that time spent in the bush had affected them positively and self-healing and development occurred.

Lumanyano Anthony Vaaltyn 

Anthony, an ambitious 23-year-old who showed enthusiasm and commitment from the start of the Siyazenzela Course.   When asked how he felt when he heard of the news that he was chosen for the field guide course, he responded:  ’I felt as if my dream had come true.  At first my mom was a bit skeptical, she wasn’t sure I was the type of person who wanted to learn more about nature. But now I know she is really impressed and proud about what I am doing and what I have become.  The course has changed my life completely, I went from a feeling of hopelessness to a mindset of self-belief and determination.’

Anthony comes from the Eastern Cape.  He has lived in Addo since birth and completed his high school in Addo.  He has three siblings who he would like to support along with his mother and father in the future. ‘My dream is to become a successful guide. I also want to encourage and help others who want to work in conservation and tourism,’ he said.

Simemkelo Majali 

Simemkelo, 23, lives with his mother and 8 siblings in Addo.  He is the eldest.  He is a keen reader and wants to change the state of the country and enjoys following politics.  He says, ‘the course helped me to have patience with myself.  I want to see changes quickly but being in nature taught me to enjoy the present and appreciate the learning during the journey.’

When asked what he would like to be in 5 to 10 years, he said he would like to have a small family of his own and be financially independent.  After completing the environmental course, he believes nature will play an important role in raising his children and ecotourism will be part of his life

Simemkelo is committed to improving his life and the people in it and is excited about his future.  He mentioned that before Siyazenzela, life seemed to have no direction but now he has a purpose and wants to become the best guide for himself and for the people he loves.

Sinethemba Kwani 

Sinethemba was born in the town of Addo but attended school in Port Elizabeth.  He is an avid sportsman and ruby is his favourite sport.   His family live off a social grant belonging to his disabled sister, but he is driven to one day support his family financially.  His personal strengths are being a good communicator and he is task driven. When asked where he would like to be in five years, ‘putting food on my family table and owning a nature company or perhaps working for a large conservation company as a professional guide.  His dream is also to send his sister to school.  ‘I would like to give my sister an opportunity to learn and help herself.’  he said

Sinethemba will be completing a supplementary program at Uluvane in October to assist him in improving his final marks for his field guide course.


Update 2021


After graduating from a CCFA funded Wilderness Foundation Africa Siyazenzela training courses in Addo during 2019, three graduates were selected for further Vocational training as part of WFA’s Umzi Wethu programme. Simamkele Majali, Anthony Vaaltyn and Sinethemba Kwani commenced their training at Ulovane Environmental Training on the 13th of January 2020. The learners were enrolled for the FGASA 10 Week (70 Days) Apprentice Field Guide Skills Programme which is focused on coaching and developing students with the necessary guiding skills needed to enter the guiding industry at an introductory level. 

Photo credit Daniel Hasselich

Photo credit Daniel Hasselich

In addition, all three learners graduated from intense Anti-Poaching training on the 17th of June 2021.  Last mentioned training was facilitated by the Kariega Foundation and run in collaboration with Global Conservation Force. During this bootcamp, the following elements are covered:

Snares and poaching methods

Tracking and detection

Weapon safety, including firearm parts, weapon strip, assemble and maintenance

Rhino poaching facts

Patrol types and techniques including hand signals, ambush and concealment

Arrest procedures

Observation posts

Map reading

Survival basics

K9 handling.

Other activities include daily personal training (PT), drills, sleep outs on the reserve, on foot night patrols, night shooting practice and wildlife approaches on foot.



Wilderness Foundation Africa is happy to report that both Simamkele Majali and Anthony Vaaltyn successfully completed their final FGASA examinations in 2020 and are now fully qualified Apprentice Field Guides. An even bigger accomplishment is that all three of these learners were accepted on the Kariega Game Reserve Anti-Poaching Internship which commenced on the 1st of February 2021.  Thus far they have received training in aspects such as Firearms handling & shooting (Semi-automatic rifles); Game capturing; Anti-Poaching Canine handling and Rhino dehorning. They have also assisted with some interesting activities that included the relocation of buffalos and providing contraception to a lioness.

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals: