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This Birdy takes flight for Asia

By Bafana Mahlangu | 2012-11-15 08:02:26.0

Nature conservationist Jabulile Mboweni isn't called "Birdy" for nothing: she can mimic birds and sings like one too. And it also seems only the sky is the limit for her.

Barely two weeks after representing South Africa at the One Young World Summit in the US, Birdy flies to Qatar today.

She will be part of a jazz band headed by leading pianist Sylvester Mazinyane, which will tour Asia over the next three months.

As she prepares to take flight on her mission to conquer the world, Birdy chirps: "I want to be everything that I am. I work tirelessly in combining all my passions to make a positive impact in our communities."

Birdy also assisted British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough to make Birds, a film on . well, birds. It is a docu-film on bird life in South Africa and is part of Attenborough's Life Series filming project in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit.

"I am a conservationist and I love singing. I can never choose between the two. I did not pick up any of them along the way, I grew up doing both," Birdy says.

Born and bred in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, 26 years ago, Birdy spent almost two years from 2010 on Dassen Island, a nature reserve off the Western Cape coast, where she filmed the award-winning eco-documentary The Guardian. It tells the story of the conservation of the biggest colony of the now endangered African penguin.

The Guardian won a ROSCA Award in the Best Short Film, awarded at the 2011 Wild Talk Awards.

Mboweni is a postgraduate student at the Tshwane University of Technology, studying towards a master's degree in ecotourism management. Her studies centre around conservation issues in the Parys and Vaal River areas. Named the youngest conservation ambassador in South Africa, Birdy is the co-founder and chairperson of Projekt 23 - a green, non-profit organisation focusing on community and schools-based environmental education.

She is also a founder and chairwoman of South African Youth for International Diplomacy, which she founded after taking part as the youth minister of environment at the 2010 G8 and G20 Youth Summit in Vancouver, Canada.

She still dreams of releasing her own music. You better watch this space.