Taking up the environmental challenge

A finalist for Miss Earth South Africa Pageant in association with Consol

CO Nompumelelo Magagula
a finalist for Miss Earth South Africa Pageant in association with Consol

Nothing great has ever been achieved except by those who dare believe that something inside them is superior to their circumstances.

On a hot Friday morning (11 May 2012) I set off to meet CO Nompumelelo Magagula (24). As she walks into the office her face lightens up with the same beauty and persona she was known for when she was a Pharmacy Assistant at 1 Military Hospital. She politely shakes my hand, smiles and reets with a firm handshake as she sits down. “It’s a sunny day,” she says as if almost shy. She smiles again as I complement her on her beauty. “Thank you, I guess smiling and having a positive outlook on life keeps me beautiful.” Nompumelelo was born in Phalaborwa in Limpopo on 7 November 1987.

She is the oldest of six children of S Sgt Cynthia Magagula who is based at 1 Construction Regiment in Dunnottar. Her father passed away in 1999 when she was 12 years old. After completing her primary school education at Bordeaux Primary in Randburg, she proceeded to Mondeor High, south of Johannesburg, and matriculated in 2006. She joined the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) in 2007 under the Military Skills Development System (MSDS). After completing her basic military training, she worked as a Pharmacy Assistant at 1 Military Hospital.

As a strong-willed person she applied for a study bursary (for studying at State expense) in 2009 and enrolled at the University of Pretoria in 2010 for a Bachelor in Clinical Medical Practice.

I look at this phenomenal young lady and think: she is so comfortable talking about herself. Nothing unsettles her, and with the same smile she said: “There is a giant asleep within everyone; when the giant awakens, miracles happen. With a vision in mind, what seemed far in the distance is only a thought away”.

She quotes Dr Nelson Mandela: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small doesn’t serve the world”.

CO Magagula entered the Miss Earth South Africa Pageant in association with Consol and was chosen as a regional finalist for Gauteng. She says that Miss Earth South Africa is more than just beauty on the surface. It is a leadership development project.

CO Magagula says that climate change is no longer a speculation, but a reality. It does not only affect our living environment, but also directly impacts on the general health of the population by bringing with it diseases such as malaria, cholera, etc. She adds that increasing water stress, waste collection, sanitation, blocked and overflowing sewers and densely populated settlements lead to many health, environmental and human dignity challenges and result in unacceptable pollution of the environment. Asked what she thought would be a sustainable solution to solving the climate change problem, she said: “Education, knowledge and capacity development. Providing people with the required knowledge and skills within which to better manage natural resources and preserve ecosystems. We need to become ever more environmentally responsible and friendly. Planting trees and recycling initiatives have become more important.”

She added that it was necessary to develop and distribute educational and awareness raising campaigns on waste minimisation and recycle items for communities, schools, industries and businesses.

In conclusion she gave the following “green” tips: To save energy choose a laptop over a desktop”; it consumes five times less electricity. Turn off your lights and appliances in unused rooms. Buy fresh foods instead of frozen ones; frozen foods use ten times more energy to produce. Save water by capturing rain water and use it to irrigate your garden. Repair leaks and dripping taps. Choose a shower instead of a bath; an average bath uses about 160 litres of water, whereas if you have a five minute shower it only uses about 60 litres.

Always try to make a conscious effort to separate and recycle glass, plastic, paper and biodegradable products in your home and workplace.