Teams at Work

There are many researchers, activists, journalists, creative practitioners and organisations working hard to push for a paradigm shift that will ensure safe, clean water in Cape Town’s rivers and oceans. Those working on the ground in their communities, or others working to shift policy or developing new ways of thinking in academic, governance and media spaces, all have a role to play in the protection of Cape Town’s rivers, vleis, springs, streams, aquifers and oceans.

SanOcean Team

Lesley Green

Prof Lesley Green is the founding director of Environmental Humanities South, an accredited research centre attached to the University of Cape Town, where she is Professor of Anthropology. A former Fulbright Scholar at the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Mandela Fellow at Harvard, and Rockefeller Humanities Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, her research focuses on understanding and strengthening justice-based environmental governance in Southern Africa. She is currently a Cheney Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds, hosted by the Global Food and Environment Institute, where her task is to build stronger social science engagement with earth and life sciences, so that environmental governance can be improved. She is the editor of Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge (HSRC, 2013), co-author of Knowing the Day, Knowing the World (Arizona, 2013), and author of Rock | Water | Life: Ecology and Humanities for a Decolonising South Africa (Duke University Press / Wits University Press, 2020).

Magne O. Sydnes

Magne O. Sydnes is the Principle Investigator of the SANOcean team on the Norwegian side. Magne was born in Oslo, Norway in 1973. He received his MSc degree in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Oslo in 1998. After a short stint in industry he commenced his PhD studies in 2001 at the Australian National University, Canberra, under the guidance of Professor Banwell. Since earning his PhD in 2004 he has been working as a postdoctoral fellow both in Australia and Japan, including two years as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow in Professor Isobe’s group at Nagoya University, Japan. In 2009 he joined International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway, as a researcher. Since December 2011 he has been working at University of Stavanger, Norway. Research interests include; natural product synthesis, medicinal chemistry, catalysis, chemical biology, analytical chemistry, and environmental chemistry.

Cecilia Y. Ojemaye

Cecilia Y. Ojemaye is presently a final year Ph.D. student at Environmental and Nano Science Research group, Department of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her research interests are in the area of Analytical, Environmental and Marine Chemistry as well as Environmental monitoring. She has 7 published articles and press releases as well as presentation several papers at national and international conferences and seminars. She has also served as Quality Control Executive for 6 years. She is a member of the South African Chemical Institute, Society of Environmental Toxicology and
Chemistry, Europe.

Nikiwe Solomon

Nikiwe Solomon is a lecturer in the Social Anthropology Department at UCT. Her background is in anthropology and Development Studies. She has worked in the Development Sector as well as in Academia. She is currently finalising her PhD in Environmental Humanities, which focuses on the Kuils River in Cape Town and its entanglement with Social and political worlds as well as urban planning. Her research interests lie in how human and ecological well-being and issues of sustainability are entangled with politics, economics, and technology.

Melissa Amy Zackon

Born and bred in Cape Town and being a scuba diving instructor, I have always had a deep connection to the ocean and the protection of our coastline. I am currently completing my Mphil Environmental Humanities South degree at the University of Cape Town. My work is an extension of my honours thesis where I partnered up with the University of the Western Cape to perform interdisciplinary research and collect both water samples and marine species, in an aid to test and research the effects of the marine effluent outfalls in both Camps Bay and Green Point. I completed my Honours in anthropology at UCT in 2017. After co-authoring “Desalination and seawater quality at Green Point, Cape Town: A study on the effects of marine sewage outfalls” (2017), in the South African Journal of Science, I realised the immense importance in continuing to dive deeper into this research and the significance of maintaining a study that made use of interdisciplinary research, skills and knowledge. In 2019 I attended a conference in Aarhus, Denmark titled Governing Urban Natures, where I presented my masters research on understanding how evidence has accepted, understood and employed in respect to the issues of water quality and the controversy over the impacts of the marine effluent outfalls on Cape town’s oceans. My research has fed into the SANOCEAN project by providing a humanities and interdisciplinary understanding and insights to some of the issues and concerns around the effects of the marine outfalls in Cape Town.

Marc de Vos

Marc de Vos is a researcher in the Marine Unit of the South African Weather Service. A physical oceanographer by training, Marc is involved with technical research and development of met-ocean tools and services related to coastal and maritime safety. His research areas include numerical ocean prediction and marine-weather risk analysis. Marc hold senior positions within the National Sea Rescue Institute, and leans on broad coastal maritime experience to bridge the gap between producers and users of metocean information. He is currently pursuing a PhD in oceanography through the University of Cape Town.

Leslie Petrik

Professor Leslie Petrik is the Principle Investigator of the SANOcean team on the South African side. Leslie leads the Environmental and Nano Sciences (ENS) research group, in the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Overall, her publications include 3 granted patents; 10 book chapters; 175 journal publications; 305 presentations, and many industrial and agency research projects. Google Scholar h‑index 37 ; i10-index 96; Citations 4261; NRF Rating: C1. Since 2003 Prof Petrik has supervised to completion 30 PhD, 60 MSc students and mentored 21 Post Doctoral Fellows at UWC. In 2020, she supervises 30 registered students (19 PhD; 11 MSc) who are associated with the overall research projects of the ENS group. All students have been supported by ENS grants and funds raised by Prof Petrik who also has many international collaborative linkages. She was the winner of the prestigious 2017/2018 National Science and Technology Forum NSTF-South32 Water Research Commission Award for an outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation. Moreover she was also selected as NSTF finalist for NSTF-Engineering Research Capacity Development Award and the NSTF-Green Matter Award in the same year. In 2016 she received the Business Women of the Year Award in the Science and Technology Category and in 2015 she received the Water Research Commission Research Awards in the category Transformation and Redress. She has been recognised with the UWC Vice Chancellor’s Annual Distinguished Researcher Award, in the Natural and Medical Sciences for 2012, as well as a Distinguished Women Scientist, in Physical and Engineering Sciences by the Department of Science and Technology in 2012 (NanoTechnology Public Engagement, N.d).

Jo Barnes

Jo Barnes is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Epidemiology and Community Health of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Stellenbosch at Tygerberg. She is engaged in research into the health impact and further consequences of pollution from failing sanitation in urban areas and pollution reaching rivers arising from using the water for drinking and irrigation of edible crops and livestock. She has extensive experience in water monitoring of the Berg and Eerste Rivers. She is a member of the Berg Catchment Management Forum and the Pollution Task Team of the Berg River Irrigation Board as well as a consultant to the Task Team to determine additional resources needed to manage pollution in storm water and river systems of the City of Cape Town. She is a recipient of the Order of the Disa (Member Class) 2007 for meritorious services to the Province of the Western Cape, winner of the Women in Water, Sanitation and Forestry Award 2007 for the category Education and Awareness for awareness created on contamination of rivers, winner of the Cape Times/Caltex Environmental Award 2005 for the research work on contaminations of rivers and recipient of the Faculty of Health Sciences Award for Community Service for 2007. She and her students studied community health in dense and low cost settlements over many years.

Neil Overy

Dr Neil Overy is an environmental researcher, writer and photographer. He has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 20 years and is particularly interested in the intersection between environmental and social justice issues. He is an historian by training and is a research associate in Environmental Humanities South at the University of Cape Town.

Amy Beukes

Amy Beukes is a EHS Social Science Researcher in the SANOCEAN research project; focusing on chemicals of emerging concern in multispecies worlds in Hout Bay, Cape Town. This research project will focus on addressing the central, overarching question framed in the CSIR (2017) report: “The critical question is whether effluent discharge through the Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay outfalls is having a major adverse impact on the ecosystem functioning of the marine receiving environments and is posing a major risk to the health of humans that use and/or extract and consume resources from these environments.” by comparing the levels of selected chemicals of emerging concern in sewage outfall effluent with the levels of these chemicals found in sessile marine organisms collected from sampling sites in Hout Bay, Cape Town.

Daniel Schlenk

Daniel Schlenk, Ph.D. is Professor of Aquatic Ecotoxicology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of California Riverside. Dr. Schlenk received his PhD in Toxicology from Oregon State University in 1989. He was supported by a National Institute of Environmental Health Science postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University from 1989–1991. A Fellow of AAAS and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), he has been a permanent member of the USEPA TSCA Chemical Safety Advisory Committee, and from 2007–2014, he was a permanent member of the USEPA FIFRA Science Advisory Panel, which he Chaired from 2012–2014. He is currently an Associate Editor for Environmental Science and Technology, and ES& T Letters. He also serves on the editorial boards of Toxicological Sciences, Aquatic Toxicology and Marine Environmental Research. He has published more than 300 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters on the effects of emerging and legacy contaminants on wildlife and humans. He has particular expertise in the linkage of molecular and bioanalytical responses associated with neuroendocrine development and whole animal effects on reproduction, growth and survival. He has been a recipient of the Ray Lankester Investigatorship of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom; a visiting Scholar of the Instituto Del Mare, Venice Italy; a visiting Scholar in the Department of Biochemistry, Chinese University of Hong Kong; a Visiting Scientist at the CSIRO Lucas Heights Laboratory, in Sydney Australia, a Distinguished Fellow of the State Key Laboratory for Marine Environmental Science of Xiamen University, China, Outstanding Foreign Scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in Korea, and a recipient of the Thousand Talents program for Zhejiang University, China.

Lesley Green

Prof Lesley Green is the founding director of Environmental Humanities South, an accredited research centre attached to the University of Cape Town, where she is Professor of Anthropology. A former Fulbright Scholar at the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Mandela Fellow at Harvard, and Rockefeller Humanities Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, her research focuses on understanding and strengthening justice-based environmental governance in Southern Africa. She is currently a Cheney Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds, hosted by the Global Food and Environment Institute, where her task is to build stronger social science engagement with earth and life sciences, so that environmental governance can be improved. She is the editor of Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge (HSRC, 2013), co-author of Knowing the Day, Knowing the World (Arizona, 2013), and author of Rock | Water | Life: Ecology and Humanities for a Decolonising South Africa (Duke University Press / Wits University Press, 2020).

Leslie Petrik

Professor Leslie Petrik is the Principle Investigator of the SANOcean team on the South African side. Leslie leads the Environmental and Nano Sciences (ENS) research group, in the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Overall, her publications include 3 granted patents; 10 book chapters; 175 journal publications; 305 presentations, and many industrial and agency research projects. Google Scholar h‑index 37 ; i10-index 96; Citations 4261; NRF Rating: C1. Since 2003 Prof Petrik has supervised to completion 30 PhD, 60 MSc students and mentored 21 Post Doctoral Fellows at UWC. In 2020, she supervises 30 registered students (19 PhD; 11 MSc) who are associated with the overall research projects of the ENS group. All students have been supported by ENS grants and funds raised by Prof Petrik who also has many international collaborative linkages. She was the winner of the prestigious 2017/2018 National Science and Technology Forum NSTF-South32 Water Research Commission Award for an outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation. Moreover she was also selected as NSTF finalist for NSTF-Engineering Research Capacity Development Award and the NSTF-Green Matter Award in the same year. In 2016 she received the Business Women of the Year Award in the Science and Technology Category and in 2015 she received the Water Research Commission Research Awards in the category Transformation and Redress. She has been recognised with the UWC Vice Chancellor’s Annual Distinguished Researcher Award, in the Natural and Medical Sciences for 2012, as well as a Distinguished Women Scientist, in Physical and Engineering Sciences by the Department of Science and Technology in 2012 (NanoTechnology Public Engagement, N.d).

Magne O. Sydnes

Magne O. Sydnes is the Principle Investigator of the SANOcean team on the Norwegian side. Magne was born in Oslo, Norway in 1973. He received his MSc degree in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Oslo in 1998. After a short stint in industry he commenced his PhD studies in 2001 at the Australian National University, Canberra, under the guidance of Professor Banwell. Since earning his PhD in 2004 he has been working as a postdoctoral fellow both in Australia and Japan, including two years as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow in Professor Isobe’s group at Nagoya University, Japan. In 2009 he joined International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway, as a researcher. Since December 2011 he has been working at University of Stavanger, Norway. Research interests include; natural product synthesis, medicinal chemistry, catalysis, chemical biology, analytical chemistry, and environmental chemistry.

Jo Barnes

Jo Barnes is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Epidemiology and Community Health of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Stellenbosch at Tygerberg. She is engaged in research into the health impact and further consequences of pollution from failing sanitation in urban areas and pollution reaching rivers arising from using the water for drinking and irrigation of edible crops and livestock. She has extensive experience in water monitoring of the Berg and Eerste Rivers. She is a member of the Berg Catchment Management Forum and the Pollution Task Team of the Berg River Irrigation Board as well as a consultant to the Task Team to determine additional resources needed to manage pollution in storm water and river systems of the City of Cape Town. She is a recipient of the Order of the Disa (Member Class) 2007 for meritorious services to the Province of the Western Cape, winner of the Women in Water, Sanitation and Forestry Award 2007 for the category Education and Awareness for awareness created on contamination of rivers, winner of the Cape Times/Caltex Environmental Award 2005 for the research work on contaminations of rivers and recipient of the Faculty of Health Sciences Award for Community Service for 2007. She and her students studied community health in dense and low cost settlements over many years.

Cecilia Y. Ojemaye

Cecilia Y. Ojemaye is presently a final year Ph.D. student at Environmental and Nano Science Research group, Department of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her research interests are in the area of Analytical, Environmental and Marine Chemistry as well as Environmental monitoring. She has 7 published articles and press releases as well as presentation several papers at national and international conferences and seminars. She has also served as Quality Control Executive for 6 years. She is a member of the South African Chemical Institute, Society of Environmental Toxicology and
Chemistry, Europe.

Nikiwe Solomon

Nikiwe Solomon is a lecturer in the Social Anthropology Department at UCT. Her background is in anthropology and Development Studies. She has worked in the Development Sector as well as in Academia. She is currently finalising her PhD in Environmental Humanities, which focuses on the Kuils River in Cape Town and its entanglement with Social and political worlds as well as urban planning. Her research interests lie in how human and ecological well-being and issues of sustainability are entangled with politics, economics, and technology.

Neil Overy

Dr Neil Overy is an environmental researcher, writer and photographer. He has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 20 years and is particularly interested in the intersection between environmental and social justice issues. He is an historian by training and is a research associate in Environmental Humanities South at the University of Cape Town.

Melissa Amy Zackon

Born and bred in Cape Town and being a scuba diving instructor, I have always had a deep connection to the ocean and the protection of our coastline. I am currently completing my Mphil Environmental Humanities South degree at the University of Cape Town. My work is an extension of my honours thesis where I partnered up with the University of the Western Cape to perform interdisciplinary research and collect both water samples and marine species, in an aid to test and research the effects of the marine effluent outfalls in both Camps Bay and Green Point. I completed my Honours in anthropology at UCT in 2017. After co-authoring “Desalination and seawater quality at Green Point, Cape Town: A study on the effects of marine sewage outfalls” (2017), in the South African Journal of Science, I realised the immense importance in continuing to dive deeper into this research and the significance of maintaining a study that made use of interdisciplinary research, skills and knowledge. In 2019 I attended a conference in Aarhus, Denmark titled Governing Urban Natures, where I presented my masters research on understanding how evidence has accepted, understood and employed in respect to the issues of water quality and the controversy over the impacts of the marine effluent outfalls on Cape town’s oceans. My research has fed into the SANOCEAN project by providing a humanities and interdisciplinary understanding and insights to some of the issues and concerns around the effects of the marine outfalls in Cape Town.

Amy Beukes

Amy Beukes is a EHS Social Science Researcher in the SANOCEAN research project; focusing on chemicals of emerging concern in multispecies worlds in Hout Bay, Cape Town. This research project will focus on addressing the central, overarching question framed in the CSIR (2017) report: “The critical question is whether effluent discharge through the Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay outfalls is having a major adverse impact on the ecosystem functioning of the marine receiving environments and is posing a major risk to the health of humans that use and/or extract and consume resources from these environments.” by comparing the levels of selected chemicals of emerging concern in sewage outfall effluent with the levels of these chemicals found in sessile marine organisms collected from sampling sites in Hout Bay, Cape Town.

Daniel Schlenk

Daniel Schlenk, Ph.D. is Professor of Aquatic Ecotoxicology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of California Riverside. Dr. Schlenk received his PhD in Toxicology from Oregon State University in 1989. He was supported by a National Institute of Environmental Health Science postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University from 1989–1991. A Fellow of AAAS and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), he has been a permanent member of the USEPA TSCA Chemical Safety Advisory Committee, and from 2007–2014, he was a permanent member of the USEPA FIFRA Science Advisory Panel, which he Chaired from 2012–2014. He is currently an Associate Editor for Environmental Science and Technology, and ES& T Letters. He also serves on the editorial boards of Toxicological Sciences, Aquatic Toxicology and Marine Environmental Research. He has published more than 300 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters on the effects of emerging and legacy contaminants on wildlife and humans. He has particular expertise in the linkage of molecular and bioanalytical responses associated with neuroendocrine development and whole animal effects on reproduction, growth and survival. He has been a recipient of the Ray Lankester Investigatorship of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom; a visiting Scholar of the Instituto Del Mare, Venice Italy; a visiting Scholar in the Department of Biochemistry, Chinese University of Hong Kong; a Visiting Scientist at the CSIRO Lucas Heights Laboratory, in Sydney Australia, a Distinguished Fellow of the State Key Laboratory for Marine Environmental Science of Xiamen University, China, Outstanding Foreign Scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in Korea, and a recipient of the Thousand Talents program for Zhejiang University, China.

Marc de Vos

Marc de Vos is a researcher in the Marine Unit of the South African Weather Service. A physical oceanographer by training, Marc is involved with technical research and development of met-ocean tools and services related to coastal and maritime safety. His research areas include numerical ocean prediction and marine-weather risk analysis. Marc hold senior positions within the National Sea Rescue Institute, and leans on broad coastal maritime experience to bridge the gap between producers and users of metocean information. He is currently pursuing a PhD in oceanography through the University of Cape Town.

Environmental Humanities South

Faith Gara

I have a BA Honours Development Studies — (UNISA 2017) Currently a master’s candidate in Environmental Humanities South Centre at the University of Cape Town. My master’s thesis forms part of a transdisciplinary research project Liveable Neighbourhood which seeks to redesign the Hangberg neighbourhood of Hout Bay suburb using a Water Sensitive Design, funded by the Water Research Commission. My research interests include exploring alternative ways that may improve water governance, water management and policy formulation through inclusive and democratic engagements with citizens, municipalities and relevant stakeholders for better service delivery and the wellbeing of water bodies in South African urban areas.

Jess Tyrrell

Jess Tyrrell is an ecotherapist and facilitator of nature-connection processes. Her work is dedicated to promoting and supporting people’s formation of an ecological identity, the sense of belonging to a larger body — the earth itself — where ‘environmentalism’ becomes much more than just a set of practices: but a way of being. In her recent Masters thesis, Jess explored ecological identity in relation to spring water, finding that the collection of water from Table Mountain springs taught people an ethic of care and reminds us how to be human participants in a more-than-human world. The thesis concludes that this insight of care needs to be incorporated into urban space design where connection between people and the living world can be fostered and encouraged. She is passionate about bringing broader awareness to the intersection between mental and environmental health — that the two are inextricably linked.

Mycelium Media Colab Team

Jemima Spring

Jemima Spring is a director, writer, editor and consulting producer, with 25 years experience in film and television. She is a passionate believer in the transformational potential of storytelling and collaboration as powerful tools for personal and social change. Jemima’s work has been broadcast in South Africa and internationally, and shown at festivals. Recent credits include Bornfrees Turning 18 and Generation Free for etv; and Disney Cookabout, a kids reality cooking game show, which was awarded a Safta in 2016, and in 2017 nominated for a Safta and an International Kids Emmy. A career focus has been showcasing inspirational South Africans in different ways, and she has a personal commitment to sustainability and regeneration, and to the role of media in creating a viable future for humanity.

Natalie Nolte

Natalie has a love for multimedia as a tool for communication. Born into a family of artists, creativity runs through her veins. With over 15 years of experience working in various media from graphic and web design to film, she has a vast overview of how these facets can pull together to create material that is both engaging and has effective messaging. Her passion lies in using these tools to create change towards environmental regeneration and community upliftment. Natalie has vast international experience working in agencies in London, museums in Dubai, with organisations in Canada, the US and on a multitude of projects in South Africa. Her passion for creativity is complemented by her efficient, proactive and organised approach, which makes her highly proficient in the roles she takes on.

Jacqueline Van Meygaarden

Jacqueline is an experienced producer and director, having worked for 20 years as a storyteller, using documentary film, visual theatre and other media platforms to create stories. She has spent over 15 years developing content about climate change and sustainability, and has worked as a freelance director, producer, cinematographer, editor and facilitator. Her journey as a storyteller began in live theatre, touring as a performer and puppeteer and designing and directing women’s multimedia visual theatre work. Moving into documentary work, she established Cosmos Productions and focused her attention on stories about environmental justice. Her company has produced numerous videos for corporates and not-for-profit organisations in South Africa, and further afield, ​including Conservation International Madagascar, 350.org and GenderCC​, as well as producing content for the national broadcaster SABC. Jacqueline is passionate about collaborative working and thinking, and creating the conditions in the world for changemakers to thrive.

Water Protectors

Edda Weimann

Prof Edda Weimann is a paediatrician, endocrinologist and public health specialist with international work experience. She obtained her Medical Degree at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, her Habilitation in Paediatrics and her Master Degree in Public Health at the University of Cape Town. Her research studies were supported by national research grants. She has served as Head of Departments and hospitals of tertiary health care facilities and is a faculty member of universities in Germany, Switzerland and South Africa. Her articles are published widely in national and international peer reviewed journals and are frequently cited. Her achievements are acknowledged through national and international innovation awards. Several of her books are translated into other languages. Research topics such as the impact of high intensity training in elite athletes, hormonal treatment of tall stature, the SA National Health Insurance (NHI), Climate Change and health, and the effect of wastewater pollution on bathers gained international audience and attention. She serves as a board member of Climate Change & Health Care Committees. During 2013 Professor Edda Weimann brought concerns to the fore about ocean water quality. She published Blue Flag Beaches — Bathers at Risk for Thalassogenic Diseases (2014). Thalassogenic diseases are any infectious disease that are caused by the sea or a result of polluted coastal water (Shuval, 2003) . Weimann’s study questions the validity of the Blue Flag symbol as an indicator of scientific validity of beach and seawater quality excellence.

…in Noseweek

For more stories of Cape Town’s Water Protectors check out the Noseweek series:
Jo Barnes
Leslie Petrik & Cecilia Ojemaye
Jean Tresfon
Richard Allen