Nonththuzelo Khonyashe

#WomenInForestry: Meet Nontuthuzelo Khonyashe

Chris Hani District Municipality

Forestry Development Officer


  • Diploma in Social Forestry
  • B-Tech in Forestry (underway)

Forestry career: 10 years

Ten years of working in the forestry industry has seen me move from a volunteer in the former Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) plantations to a Forestry Development Officer at Chris Hani District municipality. During this time I have obtained a diploma in Social Forestry and am currently enrolled at NMU undertaking a B-Tech in Forestry.

I am passionate about contributing to the rural economy and local employment through forestry, which is why I am the member of Eastern Cape Forestry Sector Forum and on the curriculum advisory committee for Fort Cox Agriculture and Forestry Training Institute.

An entrepreneur by nature, I have established a nursery producing commercial seedlings in the Eastern Cape that is owned by the youth in the area. My role has been in the provision of technical support and training, as well as forging commercial partnerships with corporate forestry companies such as PG Bision and Hans Meresky, that has resulted in offtake agreement. I have also established a charcoal manufacturing project in Engcobo, which is also owned by local youth of the surrounding villages who I facilitate in the same way.

One of my proudest achievements is the development of a Foresters Facebook Group, which is rich in information for aspiring and established foresters alike. It is also accessible with, or without, data bundles. This is my way of addressing a gap in the amount of developmental information reaching people in rural communities.

Moving forward, I aspire to influence Eastern Cape community foresters to pursue their dreams and reach greater heights. As a young, motivated, black woman, I want to be part of an industry where female foresters become entrepreneurs by participating in afforestation and rehabilitation programmes within their communities.

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