Sinazo Maneli

Meteorological technician, South African Weather Service

Initiative, energy and a determination to enable others to see opportunity is what 10 years ago set Sinazo Maneli apart from other matriculants in her community. Maneli recognised that good grades are not only what university acceptance is about, and that early application to institutions and organising one’s financial assistance in advance are critical.

Coming from a disadvantaged community herself, Maneli graduated from the University of Fort Hare with a BSc in geography and geographical information systems (GIS), and an honours degree in applied remote sensing and GIS.

In 2015, as a GIS intern at the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in King William’s Town, she organised the Masifundeni Career Awareness Day for more than 400 students from four high schools in her community, mobilising support from various national and provincial government departments to support the event by presenting career opportunities and financial offerings.
Maneli then compiled the Masifundeni presentation, clearly outlining the process of applying to institutions of higher learning on time and avoid walk-ins happening at universities in January.

“You find that walk-ins are mostly students from rural areas, as they are not aware of the proper application process. There are also many assumptions about academic funding. Many people presume you need to come from a rich family to study at university – they don’t know that if you pass matric with good grades and apply on time, there are scholarships, bursaries and study loans available.”

Maneli is inspired by the knowledge that she is helping others and changing lives for the better.

Now just 27, Maneli has been appointed as a meteorological technician for the South African Weather Service on Marion Island scientific research base, which is part of the South African National Antarctic Programme by the department of environmental affairs. She will be based on the remote island for 13 months.

— Linda Doke

Instagram: @manelisinazo