Alumni Spotlight: Kim Nates (’05, ’08, ’15-17), South Africa

Kim Nates ('05, '08, '15, '16 & '17), NGO Marketing Consultant, South Africa

This week we are proud to feature Kim Nates, alumna from March of the Living South Africa and the International Adult Delegation. Inspired by her experiences with the March of the Living, Kim went on to work with the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre as a project manager for five years, and currently works as a project management and marketing consultant in the education, museum and NGO space.

I first attended March of the Living in 2005, as a shy 16-year-old, the only delegate from a secular High School with very little connection to my Jewish identity. I was a third generation Holocaust survivor: my maternal grandfather, Moses Turner, and his brother had been saved by Oskar Schindler and his famous list. My mother, Tali Nates, was consumed by this history and a legacy of teaching others the importance of “never again”.

My memories of that first trip centre around a feeling of connection: being able to connect for the first time with other Jews my age, being able to connect with my family’s story and, most importantly to me, with my mother’s passion and dedication for changing the world.

Little did I know that I would re-connect with MOTL at several other critical milestones in my life.

I next attended MOTL in 2008 as part of the adult delegation; my mother was then the tour leader and guide. I had just recovered from a cancer diagnosis and months of chemotherapy treatment; and this trip became my effort to reconnect with the world and find direction ahead of entering college, where I would soon study history and international relations.

Then again in 2015, after completing my studies overseas, I joined MOTL as a Madrichah (staff member) for the incoming South African youth delegation. Now a mostly shy 26-year-old who had just moved back to South Africa, I was deeply lost and confused about my next steps as an adult. And what started out as a way to “keep busy” re-awakened both a personal and professional passion for Tikkun Olam and using the power of historical storytelling to teach empathy, compassion and inclusivity.

MOTL began a new journey for me, and shaped my future. First, alongside my mother at the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, which she founded. In addition to managing the various events and exhibitions at the Centre, I was also able to coordinate study tours to Germany, Poland, South Africa and Rwanda – sharing the power of experiential, hands-on learning with students and adults alike. Today I work as a project management consultant for NGOs, museums and educational institutions and continue to advocate for the importance of learning about the past to better shape our future.

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