Ms Nozipo Nobanda was born on 27 July 1956 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She grew up in Barbour Fields Township and did her early schooling in Mzilikazi before moving to Regina Mundi Mission in Gwayi where she obtained “O” levels in 1974. After that she worked as a teacher at Ekusileni Mission. In 1977 she was granted a British Council Scholarship to study in the UK where she did “A” levels and a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Combined Sciences at Sutton Coldfield College (Birmingham) and Polytechnic of Wales respectively. Her degree was in Mathematics, Environmental Pollution and Life Sciences with a thesis examining the heavy metal pollution in soils of the coal mining Welsh valley—The Rhondda.
Nobanda returned to Zimbabwe in June 1982 to work as a Land Inspector at the Department of Natural Resources. She made history by being the first female land inspector in Zimbabwe! In 1984 she received an ADAB (Australian Development Agency Bureau) scholarship to study for a Diploma in Natural Resources. She completed her training at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, the end of that year obtaining a prize for the best graduate thesis. Her thesis was entitled The revegetation of degraded areas using artificial seeding techniques: with emphasis on small seeds.
In June 1985, shortly after returning from Australia, Nobanda transferred from the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Research and Specialist Services to take up the position of Research Officer at the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden. She worked as an ecologist and obtained further training in various disciplines around Zimbabwe and abroad. These included plant taxonomy, herbarium techniques, conservation of genetic resources, remote sensing, and environmental conservation. In 1990 Nozipo obtained an M.Sc. degree in Modern Botanical Methods at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK.
By 1995, Nobanda, having moved to the position of Principal Research Officer, was promoted to head the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden of Zimbabwe. Nozipo has contributed to a number of significant Zimbabwean publications, namely Classification and mapping of woody vegetation in Lupane District (1990), Vegetation surveys in Zimbabwe (1993), Vegetation survey of the communal lands—North and West of Zimbabwe (1994), Vegetation types in Matabeleland North Province (1995), environmental impact assessments of the Bulawayo-Matabeleland Water Supply Project (1995/96) and the recent State of the Environment Report.
Nozipo is conscientious and committed to her work and career. She is responsible for the largest and probably one of the most significant botanical institutions in the Flora Zambesiaca area with the National Herbarium of Zimbabwe (SRGH) in Harare housing over 500,000 plant specimens. She is chairperson of the SABONET-Zimbabwe National Working Group, and also Zimbabwe’s representative on the SABONET Steering Committee. In what little spare time she has available, Nozipo’s hobbies include reading, gardening, camping in the wild, and visiting places.
SABONET News 3.2: 54