Expanding the role of women in Sappi Forests

Expanding the role of women in Sappi Forests in South Africa

In the past, forestry tended to be seen as a man’s world in South Africa, but now all that’s changing. We talked to Nomathemba Sikhakhane about her experience working with Sappi as an intrepid woman forester in Glenthorpe Plantation.

What educational qualifications do you have?

I matriculated from St Joseph’s Secondary School in 2014 and obtained a National Diploma in Forestry from Saasveld in 2017. I have also completed short courses that are essential to my work as a forester - most of them were completed through the Sappi Online Learning programme.

When did you join Sappi?

I joined Sappi in 2016, as a student doing my practicals at the Clan plantation. I got an opportunity to learn and experience the daily work of a forester from the Clan Forests, Clan Nursery, Tweedie Research Nursery and Evergreen Sawmill. In 2018, I was placed at the Graskop Plantation as a Forester in Training doing both harvesting and silviculture. I was then employed permanently in 2019, as a Forester at Glenthorpe plantation working with the silviculture team.

How would you describe your Sappi experience so far?

My Sappi experience has been nothing but great and very informative although not always a walk in the park. I love that we are a very diverse team and if I need help, there is always someone in the system to assist me.

More #WomenInForestry

Nomathemba is just one of a growing number of women joining Sappi in South Africa. Louise van Wyk is a Sappi Forests Environmental Manager for Mpumalanga. Find out why she loves forestry in this #WomenInForestry video.