Caroline Thembelihle Mbokazi is a dedicated conservationist, activist and advocate for environmental issues. She made history in 2005 when she became the first woman of colour to earn a Wilderness Guide certification from the Wilderness Leadership School.
Outside of her role as liaison manager at All Rise Attorneys, she has volunteered for groups such as Earthlife Africa, EcoPeace and the Wilderness Action Group, as she has always had a love for the outdoors. “My volunteer work entailed conserving and saving the environment, ecosystems and wilderness,” she says.
At All Rise, Mbokazi provides communication between their lawyers and their community clients, mainly based in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. She grew up in KwaMashu township in KwaZulu-Natal, and is now based in Stanger. “I also get involved in facilitating the training and workshops that All Rise runs in the communities that we work with,” she adds. Mbokazi has become well-versed in environmental legislation — something she never anticipated learning.
Her crowning achievement came this year, when she led a workshop on climate change for the first time in the KwaZulu-Natal town of Eshowe. Mbokazi says that the world of conservation is still male-dominated: “They take female conservationists and environmentalists for granted, thinking that they are the only ones who are more powerful and knowledgeable in this field.”
However, things are slowly but surely changing. “Now, we have more women getting into the field. I have worked with amazing female environmentalists and lawyers who are doing amazing work defending our clients who were affected by the mine in the Somkhele area in northern Zululand,” she adds.
For Mbokazi, the most important message regarding South Africa’s natural environment is that it should be protected and valued as a national treasure.
They take female conservationists and environmentalists for granted