Thando Mazomba, All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador, South Africa
Our 25th episode of the AtlantECO podcast is the first of a short series where we meet young people from around the Atlantic basin to listen to their messages as All-Atlantic Youth Ambassadors. This programme was launched in 2019 under the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and brings together and empowers young ocean professionals as they promote sustainable development and stewardship of the Atlantic Ocean, to give them a voice within their communities and beyond. And our first conversation is with Thando Mazomba, an inspiring young woman from South Africa. With Thando we speak of her experience growing up on the coast of the Indian ocean and then moving to the Atlantic coast, her experience as a youth ambassador, a young professional, an activist and as a general custodian of the ocean.
As part of her engagement activities, Thando is part of the leading team of the Beach Co-op which organises community events that share and connect through beach clean-up activities; and she participates in a fellowship programme working to improve representation of filmmaking for people of colour and has co-developed a programme to showcase the diversity of careers in connection with the ocean to kids from underprivileged schools. These have helped her develop her awareness of how she exists in this space, through her different lived experiences, but also enabled an understanding that there are as many lived experiences as there are people, and that this is what should help us to think of contextualised, equitable and accessible solutions for common issues, such as climate change, as they affect people differently.
For Thando, there is a need to redefine what we call success, turning away from its connections with profit and the bottom line towards the understanding that “the wealth of a community is a direct reflection of the health of its surrounding environment” and a definition of what long term sustainable success looks like, where both the environment and populations can co-thrive.
As a main call to action, Thando is inviting everyone to approach the ocean space from a place of love, as a commitment to work, to put in the effort and reflect on how we all contribute to our communities, so we can do better and find solutions.
There are so many messages shared during our conversation that it is difficult to pick only a few to write about, and I encourage you to listen to this episode a couple of times.