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Fanuel Nleya

Futurist Profile



Fanuel Nleya

Nature Conservationist/Environmentalist

Extension and Interpretation Officer: Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Southern African Wildlife College

Postgraduate Environmental Management
Mphil candidate

Fanuel answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.


You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I am a conservationist/ environmentalist/coach/mentor. I look at the future of human being as dependent on nature therefore in my career I always look at future generations and what we should do for them to enjoy and benefit from natural resources. I look at ensuring human actions are sustainable so that future generations will not be disadvantaged. I contribute a lot to the development of future conservationist through training and development.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

I have more than 15 years working in the field of nature conservation and I believe I am contributing significantly as a future thinker.

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Zimbabwe, South Africa

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?

English, Ndebele, Shona , Zulu, Nambya and Tonga

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

My sincere desire is to see a progressing Africa benefiting from its well managed natural resources. The better management of nature requires us to be able to manage the behaviour of people therefore I seek to contribute towards a better future. I enjoy contributing to the development of future conservation leaders through training coaching and mentoring.

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

I would like to be an inspiration and role model to future conservationists and played a role in the development of the new paradigm of futuristic thinking. Conservation and environment fields need future leaders to help carry the burden for future generations. I would like to develop and be a better conservationist who would contribute towards the sustainable management of Africa's natural resources.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

Aldo Leopold

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

Nature conservation, environmental management, business

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as... Mentor

I describe myself as... Leader



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

“A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.”

“One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.”

“A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke [of the axe] he is writing his signature on the face of the land.”

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?”

“If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of eons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

Currently the African continent is on the right direction for the future, though a mind-set shift is still lacking to embrace sustainable development. African still believe things in the continent need help from other continents to change, which is not the case, we are the masters of our own destiny. Wishful thinking needs to be dealt with and African leaders need to lead by example, more action and less talking. Thought leaders are still emerging, there is need for more though leaders.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

Lack of energy and initiation to lift the lid of knowledge and take up new offerings from the globe. Institutions are still failing to accept that they cannot be better while operating in isolation. Fear of change must be dealt with amongst people running institutions.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

First I would say follow your passion and love what you have chosen. Build on your career through sweat and you will reap well as you progress in future. Willingness to learn, discipline, focus and motivation are key. Networking is important and will open closed doors, create a network.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredibly Voyage
Endurance. Alfred Lansing (1999)
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. Jim Collins (2001)
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen R. Covey (2004)
The Art of War. Sun Tzu (2005.
Developing the Leader Within You. John C. Maxwell (2005).

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

Youtube: Ted Talks


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