Teaching the world at Maropeng – Magel van de Venter
By Miliswa Sitshwele
For 16 years Magel van de Venter was a biology teacher at a high school in Krugersdorp, near Johannesburg. The need to grow herself as an educator and learn more about eco-biology saw her applying for a job at Maropeng.
In September 2005 Magel took up a job as Maropeng’s education and marketing executive and she hasn’t looked back since.
A typical day in her work life starts at around 4h50, depending on whether she will be delivering resource packs and school information letters. Her day usually ends at 19h00 or 20h00.
Her job entails checking school visitor numbers, admin of Hominid House, organising matric dances, bettering school service and improving learner experiences at Maropeng.
Magel says she does all of this with pride, as the end result means uplifting learners – especially those who wouldn’t normally afford a visit to this World Heritage Site.
What Magel enjoys most about her job is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of, and interacting with, learners. She says, “I love sharing the wonderful information that we have here.”
Magel van de Venter loves teaching the world about human evolution and biology
She describes herself as an enthusiastic person who is driven to live her life with passion and succeed in everything she does.
Asked why she took up the job at Maropeng, Magel says she saw it as an opportunity to not only be an educator in the classroom, but to also teach the world about human evolution and biology.
She notes the freedom to improve herself as one of the highlights of her job at Maropeng.
“Here [Maropeng] we are not bound to a way of doing things. We are given the opportunity to explore and knowing that we work with unlimited boundaries is a highlight for me.”
Working at Maropeng has taught Magel many lessons, but the one she keeps with her is the ability to embrace change and stay in touch with everything that is happening in the world.
“I don’t like change and working at Maropeng has made me realise that change is constant and I need to keep abreast of it,” Magel says.
Being part of the Maropeng family has also taught Magel to be patient and learn that, “we come from different backgrounds therefore we will not always see eye to eye”.
“My nineteen-year-old daughter loves being here. She is embracing what mum is embracing and being a little teacher.”
For Magel, working at Maropeng fills her with a sense of pride.
“I am proud to be part of a company that is teaching the young generation about our heritage. If we don’t teach the young people about this they won’t be able to embrace it.
“In order for people to understand their present, they need to understand the past,” she adds.
For Magel, the friendly staff, clean, neat buildings and the willingness of her colleagues to help when needed are what make Maropeng stand out from other tourist destinations.
Her passion is to see Maropeng thriving and becoming the preferred visitors’ destination for South Africans and people abroad, so Magel doesn’t see herself branching out anytime soon.
“With teamwork we can achieve and succeed in all the goals that we put down for 2010 and 2011,” she says.