About

Meet the team

Dr Clova Mabin

Education Centre Director

 

Originally from Scotland, Clova has been in love with the ocean since she was a toddler and has fond memories of windswept beaches and very cold water! A conservation expedition to the warmer waters of Madagascar and subsequently working as a diving aquarist in a Scottish aquarium cemented her passion for all things marine. She came to South Africa in 2005 to work as a dive master with tiger sharks and then joined the White Shark Trust as a research assistant. During this time she became involved in the wildlife film industry, developing her science communication and project management skills. Keen to further her education, Clova went on to complete an MSc in conservation biology and then a PhD focusing on the status and management options for marine species that have invaded South African shores. This applied research made her realise how remote most science is from the general public and how such inaccessibility contributes to the many conservation issues we face today.

Clova loves to travel, but when in South Africa she spends her free time outdoors, either underwater or in the mountains. She is a certified PADI dive master and scientific commercial diver. As a mother and a volunteer for several organisations that focus on environmental education, she enjoys teaching children about ecology and sustainable lifestyle choices. She is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of the marine environment, as she believes this is the best way to shape our future.

 

Claire Metcalf

Facilities Administrator

 

Raised in various small West Coast fishing and mining towns of South Africa and Namibia, with parents whose free-range approach to parenting meant lots of time outside exploring beaches, Claire is a firm believer in the power of experiential education in moulding future generations to become effective conservationists.  Claire joined the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Education Centre in May 2016 after almost eight years with Liberty Life Financial Services as a franchise business support administrator. With a diploma in administration and legal studies from Montrose Business College in Cape Town, in her role as the facilities administrator she brings a high level of organisation and structure to the dynamic working environment that is the Shark Education Centre. She is enjoying every minute of the varied opportunities this role brings and, in addition to seeing to facilities maintenance and administration, she has become a vital part of the team, joining school groups as they learn about, explore and appreciate the ocean. She has also made it her personal mission to convince the education centre’s resident puffadder shysharks to eat their food. With a family that has earned – and continues to earn – its income almost entirely from the sea, Claire has a vested interest in the conservation of the oceans for current and future generations. She believes that she is in exactly the right place to be able to contribute to this.

Justine Swartz

Educator

 

Justine grew up in the greater Cape Flats area and always loved adventuring with her mom and younger brother, walking from central Cape Town to the beach at Camps Bay to swim. She particularly enjoyed walking past Table Mountain and being able to admire the great rock massif and the beauty of nature around it. In her final year at school she began volunteering at an organisation where she was involved with environmental camps and dragon-boat racing, which proved to be the start of an amazing journey into nature conservation. Looking back on it today, that journey has taken her from terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems to marine conservation. Justine believes in educating young minds, as they are the ones that will bring about change. Above all, she has a love for people and a passion for conserving the natural environment.

Ntombizanele Mayiya

Assistant educator

 

Zanele was born in the northern part of South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Even as a young girl she enjoyed cooking very much, so when she completed her matric she decided to make hotel and catering management her career. In March 2008 she started working for SOSF as a housekeeper.
By reading SOSF books and watching videos about the ocean environment, Zanele became interested in marine life. In June 2009 she joined Alison Kock on the research boat to Seal Island in False Bay and there she saw a great white shark for the first time in her life. By the end of that trip she had fallen in love with the sea and decided to become an educator so that she can pass her enthusiasm on to the young generations of South Africa.

‘The more “no”s you get, the closer you get to a yes.’ Chinese proverb ‘