Jamila Jenna – Wild Cost hike applicant (July 21 – 28)

NAME: Jamila Janna
AGE: 22
OCCUPATION: Marine Protected Areas Expansion Project Intern
CELL NUMBER: +27 71 610 4710
EMAIL: jamilaj263@gmail.com

Why do you want to take part in Wild Coast hike? 

At a job interview 4 months ago, I was asked what my 5-year plan was. I said that “I was born in the Eastern Cape and I would like to go back home, engage with my community and expand conservation efforts.”. Though I was born in Transkei, I have spent most of my life in Durban and in a very conservative environment. I have never experienced the beauty of the land of my birth except for the few weeks I spent with my family during the school holidays. Even then, we never ventured far away from our house. Further, I am currently working on a film idea (N.E.W Pitch with N.E.W.F Congress) called “Wild Coast’s Wallflower” that surrounds me exploring one of wild coast’s marine protected areas – Hluleka. Perhaps, my journey back to my homeland is going to begin with this very hike. This is why I would like to be a part of it.  Here is an excerpt from a poem I’ve written called Transkei:

Do not ask me what the Transkei Mountains say to me
For, very often they speak in tongues
Laced with familiarity
Their hushes call me back home

“Our happiness,” they keep on saying
“Our happiness comes from the respect we pay to the land we walk on,
The animals we co-exist with The God we owe it all to.” ’

I would like to create an appreciation for the wild coast and show case this through all forms of art, but first I need to truly experience it.

Why are you interested in receiving environmental journalism training? (200 – 300 words)

I am a marine biologist with an honours degree but I spent my last two years of high school preparing myself to do journalism in varsity. Obviously, that was not the path that was chosen for as I was rejected. Afterwards, while doing my honours I looked for short courses in community journalism in institutes such as UNISA but never had the money to cover the tuition costs.  I believe in stories and storytelling. I believe in this because it has been something man has done from the very first man who walked this earth.  As a person who is actively using social media as a platform to create awareness about marine protected areas and marine threats through a group called Youth For Marine Protected Areas (Y4MPAs), this skill will aid me in effectively relating news surrounding environmental activities and events. I also believe this skill will come in handy in my career as I start further integrating my science with my passion for writing and media. This is also an opportunity for me as a scientist who always had to have a rigid, precise and very factual style of writing, to learn the art of intriguing people through the fluidity yet factual nature of journalism. This opportunity really does combine many things that I am passionate about and not many ever get such an opportunity or even luck.