Knysna Municipality’s own women of worth

During the month of August, we showcased some of our remarkable female staff members who are passionate about their work and highly committed to creating an inclusive, innovative and inspired Greater Knysna.

Megan L. Blatchford, the Horticulturist: Parks and Recreation, found her inspiration for horticulture growing up surrounded by gardens and nature. She also loves art.

She strongly believes that all individuals can be change-makers and that we all have the potential to make tangible changes in our communities.

While studying horticulture she started to pay more attention to her natural surroundings, the environment and the impact our lifestyle choices can have on the environment. “I am concerned that inaction and complacency now could be the curse to our future generations. They rely on us to make the right decisions now.”

Megan says the world will also be a much better place if women, no matter what their role or career, would encourage and motivate each other and be true to themselves.

In recent weeks, Megan and her team rejuvenated over 50 municipal garden beds and planted more than 130 trees under the department’s new greening initiative.

Kim Sampson, Senior Technician: Water and Sewer initially planned to study town planning, but eventually registered for a degree in Civil Engineering.

One of the things she enjoys most about being a Civil Engineer is that you are required to think on your feet, solving problems on a continuous basis. “I really love complex engineering projects as one often needs to go back to the drawing board, starting with the basic principles of engineering.”

One of the biggest challenges she’s had to face in her career, and still face, is the idea that civil engineering is a male-specific career. “That however is changing as more women are pursuing careers in the Engineering field.”

In her spare time, she plays golf and enjoys travelling. “Travelling is an education on its own and you are exposed to many different cultural experiences.”

Giving back to her community is another passion of Kim. She assists the primary school she once attended by doing fundraising and charity work for them.

Our third women of worth is someone that, through hard work, dedication and education, worked her way up through the ranks –  Senior Librarian Zoliswa Mphekeleni.

Zoliswa is born and bred in Knysna and a proud “local”. After finishing matric, she fell pregnant and was unable to attend university. She later applied for a job as cleaner at the Hornlee library.

Supported by the librarian and through the municipality’s training opportunities she furthered her studies and completed a degree in Library Information Science. Today she is the Senior Librarian at the Masifunde Library.

She says her appointment at the municipality was God sent. “I did not actually know which career path to follow after completing matric. The Library was my refuge during a difficult time in my life and gave me the courage to embrace change and assisted me to create a career path for myself.”

Carrying her heart on her sleeve, she said that sometimes she becomes too emotionally involved in the lives of struggling youth. “I assist where I can by guiding the young ones in my community, making sure they know they have options to study further.” She is also the proud lead facilitator of the annual Spelling Bee competition hosted by the Libraries in collaboration with all greater Knysna schools.

Zoliswa is now tackling a Degree in Public Administration. “I believe in hard work and achieving your dreams, and helping others to achieve theirs.  I hope that I can be an inspiration to my children and others in my community, so that they too can become hard workers and architects of change.”

Marionette Franzsen, Chief Clerk Vehicle and Licensing, is one of our longest serving staff members.

She was born and raised in Knysna, started her schooling at the Rheenendal Primary School and matriculated at Knysna High School.

After school she began her career as a clerk at a local car dealership where she worked for ten years before joining the Knysna Municipality. She currently holds the position of Chief Clerk Vehicle and Licensing and is in her 32nd year of loyal service.

Acknowledging that dealing with people can sometimes be challenging, she still enjoys it very much. “I like being in the service of the people of Greater Knysna and believe we should always give it our best, no matter what the circumstances,”

In her downtime, she spends time with her family, takes long walks, and she knits. “It keeps me balanced and positive.” she says. With retirement looming, she plans to travel a bit more, enter more marathons and continue to knit.

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