All things are connected

All things are connected

Sunday, 20 September 2015

My own learning pathway | a summary in the third person

My own learning pathway, a summary in the third person

Margaret Burger (van Zwol) is an environmentalist based in Durban.  She completed a bachelor’s degree and then studied education.  As a young activist her first teaching post was with the then Department of Education and Training at Pholela High School in Bulwer in 1975.

Relocating to the city in 1979, and feeling stifled in a strict curriculum environment, she taught Geography at Sacred Heart High School, Oakford Priory, Verulam.  At the same time she studied early childhood education and shifted her focus to this more creative developmental phase of education.

After more than a decade in education, she pursued her passion for working in the earth and started a landscaping and garden maintenance business, Grassroots in Johannesburg.  In 1991 she returned to Durban, combining landscaping, managing a legal office and community work.

Community work through the uMngeni Estuary Conservancy led to involvement in a private public partnership and a two year period mentoring a co-operative small business restoring the riparian zone of the uMngeni Estuary, Durban. Supporting adults in an advisory capacity encouraged the desire to understand how adults learn.  This period on the river became a turning point in wanting to understand how green open spaces are utilised by diverse members of society.  

Margaret completed Master’s thesis on workplace learning at Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre graduating in 2017. The thesis topic is "Working for Ecosystems: An account of how pathways of learning lead to SMME development in a municipal social-ecological programme within a green economy context".

Working for Ecosystems is the eThekwini's municipal model in restoring ecosystems services through invasive alien plant control.  The dual learning pathways for the SMME's entails learning the practice of invasive alien plant control as well as becoming fully fledged contractors.  This is a complex multi-dimensional process with the ultimate aim of assisting in creating sustainable livelihoods in an increasingly urbanised environment.


Umvubu Co-operative early morning July 2008.  Take note of the 'rats tail' grass as appreciation for indigenous grasses