16:00-16:30 Land…with compensation of an alien kind – the role of Invasive Alien Plant clearing in releasing water and restoring livelihoods.

Presenter: Ms Relebohile Kobeli

Ms Relebohile Kobeli

I aspire to hustle and Create; there is an undeniable beauty in discovering opportunities and developing ones own unique ways in bringing ideas to life. In 2014, I was honoured with the title of Miss Lesotho. Through this I got the opportunity to grace the Miss World 2015 stage; where I placed top 26 for my Beauty With A Purpose project, which focused on developing sustainable businesses, building their dependency and creating community plots with the aim of weaning rural dwellers off governmental donations.

I am currently an intern at Avocado Vision, where my key roles include, firstly, management of the Green Business Value Chain Project, ensuring the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure of the project. Secondly, assisting with the graphic and content design of training programme material. Moreover, I am a digital marketing fanatic and a trained freelance makeup artist, focusing in three areas; fantasy makeup, bridal makeup and editorial makeup.

I completed my university studies at the University of the Free State where I obtained my undergraduate degree in BA. Geography and Environmental Management (2016) and a B. Com Honours degree with specialisation in Marketing (2017). In 2015, I received a Golden Key International Honour Society award for outstanding academic. A TATA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2016, following my Top 20 placement in the marketing strategy development competition for TATA’s business segments.

All I want to do is create content and communication strategies that will build businesses and change brand mind share into a brand market share.

Land is an age-old asset that can unlock tremendous resources beneficial to society. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 (No poverty), 6 (clean water and sanitation), and 8 (decent work and economic growth) create linkages into these land resources through integrated and sustainable land-use management. Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs), a big threat to sustainable land management, are spreading across South Africa at a rate of 5-10% per year (Stafford, 2017). They are driving biodiversity loss, destroying rangelands and grazing lands, soaking up fresh water from the landscape and contributing to massive soil erosion issues. Approximately 4000 SMMEs, contracted to the Department of Environmental Affairs, work annually to clear the land of Invasive Alien Plants. But they are only clearing 1% of IAPs per year. Herein lies a great opportunity for you:

  • Help us unlock new market demand ideas that will help generate a consumer demand for IAP-based products;
  • Help us understand where the innovation sits along the IAP value chain from harvesting IAPs to on-site value adding to logistics to off-site value adding to demand opportunities that will help generate a market.

By doing so, you help stop biodiversity loss; you help bring rangelands and grazing lands back to life; you help release water into our streams and rivers, and help create societal wealth thereby restoring livelihoods.