A way through nature

Anele Ndawule, is an exceptionally promising student currently finishing his honours in Landscape Architecture at UCT, with sponsorship and assistance from Just Trees. As a child, he relied on nature and drawing as way to escape the negative situation surrounding him. We sat down with him to hear more about his story and passion for nature.

Tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Anele Ndawule, I am 25 years old, originally from Engcobo in the Eastern Cape but I spent half of my life in Asanda village in Strand (Cape Town).

Can you tell us a little about what you’re currently studying? 

Currently I hold a National Diploma and Baccalaureus degree in Landscape Technology from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I am presently completing an Honours degree in Landscape Architecture (BLA) at the University Of Cape Town in the school of architecture, planning & Geomatics One year course. Thereafter, I intend to apply for a place within the MLA degree programme as the opportunity to pursue a higher qualification will be extremely beneficial in advancing my future career, also one year course.

Can you please describe how you got interested in landscape architecture?

Growing up and spending half of my life in the squatter camps in Pholile (Strand) Cape Town had a big influence on my choice of profession. In informal settlements where basic services are lacking, we tend to invent ways in which one can survive everyday difficulties. Nature and drawing was my way of escaping the negative situation that I faced. From there, my interest grew based on the exposure that I received while visiting nature reserves around Cape Town during my school years. I learnt more about using nature in a therapeutic way which then broadened my interest in landscape architecture.

How have you been assisted on your journey?

Coming from a financial disadvantage background, achieving my dreams seemed impossible. Just Trees gave me a great opportunity to further my studies at the University of Cape Town in partnering with ILASA. They have supported me not only financially but spiritually. I will always be grateful to them, if not for their support, my family and I would not have been this confident in me pursuing my dreams.

What advice would you give someone who wants to study landscape architecture?

I always say to other students it is not always about how well you can draw, it is about how willing you are to learn. After all, drawing is a skill and a skill can be learned. “I can’t” or “it’s impossible” must not form part of your vocabulary if you want to succeed in this industry. Always push yourself to learn more about the industry. You can do this by
reading about trends and how context changes overtime. Never wait for things to be handed to you. BE A GO GETTER!

Inspired much? We certainly are. You can follow Anele’s progress by keeping an eye on his Instagram.

All images © Anele Ndawule.

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