Joseph Sekyanzi

Joseph has always loved wildlife and the natural world. His rich early experiences and close interaction with nature in Ugandan rural communities shaped his academic interests and career. For him and his community, the natural world was a world of paradise that deserved appreciation and sustainable management. During high school, under a government-funded program, he took the science option that led him to a BSc in Conservation Biology sponsored by the MasterCard Foundation at Makerere University in Kampala. After graduation, Joseph volunteered with fellow youth to create community sensitization and engage the public about the importance of conservation. He also assisted research work at the Department of Biological Sciences at Makerere University, particularly in reviewing literature on traditional medicines on the East African Community’s government-funded project. He interned at the Uganda Wildlife Agency attached to Kibale Forest National Park and with regular visits to Queen Elizabeth National Park in south-western Uganda. This inspired him to undertake his final year project in phytoremediation as a potential restoration measure for polluted mining sites. This internship also exposed him to another set of real biodiversity and community experiences and challenges - including first-hand experience of unhealthy human-wildlife relationships from the brunt of poaching to community retaliation killings of wildlife and illegal logging from nature reserves. 

Joseph highly respects cultural differences and diversity. His love for Cape Town and South Africa as a whole came naturally seven years ago while watching NatGeo documentaries aired live from the wild lands of the greater Krugar National Park. For him, the rich cultural, socio-economic and biodiversity experiences in South Africa creates an African paradise and a destination he has always dreamt of. He believes this Masters will strengthen his knowledge, develop his skills and provide a deeper understanding and broader experience in conservation and biology in both the African and global contexts, so as to solve the complex human-wildlife and environmental concerns of our time in Africa and beyond.

Thesis: An investigation into the root of two of the main vulture threats: poisoning and belief-based use of vulture body parts in Southern Kenya. (Supervisors: Dr Robert Thomson and Dr Andrea Santangeli)