By Kuda Musengi, Arid Lands Node [email protected] postdoc

I grew up in Masvingo, a town in Zimbabwe, and moved to Johannesburg in 2013 to enrol for an MSc in Environmental Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), where I also served as a research and teaching assistant.

I participated in the Yebo Gogga annual science fair for several consecutive years. Yebo Gogga is a community outreach activity run by Wits aimed at schools and families in the greater Gauteng region.

I got hooked on invasion biology while I was at Wits and focused on the invasive potential of Eucalyptus grandis, a common plantation species globally. I determined the rates of E. grandis establishment outside plantations.

After completing my MSc, I registered for a PhD to continue my work on invasion biology. My PhD focused on the biological control of invasive cactus species using insects.

I got to know about SAEON during my time at Wits and participated in the SAEON Graduate Student Network conference that was held at Port Elizabeth in 2014.

I found SAEON to be an excellent organisation and was fortunate to be offered a postdoc fellowship in 2020 at SAEON’s Arid Lands Node in Kimberley.