Manpower puts Maria on highway to success

Not that long ago, Maria Tswayi ran a few cattle on communal land in Masilonyana village near Theunissen in the Free State. Today, with the help of fellow black farmers and the Sernick Group, Maria is an award-winning farmer well on her way to commercial success. She tells Peter Mashala how hard work and consistent effort got her to the top of her group.

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ABOVE: Five years ago, Maria Tswayi, the Sernick Group’s Emerging Farmer of the Year 2021, was running a few cattle on communal land near Theunissen. Today she runs a commercial Bonsmara herd of 90 breeding cows and six bulls on Scheerpan outside Hertzogville. PHOTOS: PETER MASHALA

Farming with no excuses

Sibusiso ‘Sbu’ Mogale, a former paralympian turned farmer, produces poultry and vegetables in his home village of eNgodini near White River in Mpumalanga. He talks to African Farming’s Peter Mashala about the legacy of plant knowledge his grandmother left him and about overcoming physical challenges to live your best life.

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A land legacy transformed

Thabitha Chauke dropped out of university in 2002 to answer what she believed was a call from her late father to work the family plot. Years of hardship followed before Thabitha built her business, Amokelani Farm, to what it is today – a thriving commercial tomato growing operation that supplies the local market as well as international buyers from Botswana and Mozambique. In 2018 her ability was recognised when she was named the top female producer in the Waterberg district and the Lephalale municipality. Peter Mashala caught up with her to find out more.

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Sugar cane queen builds her empire

Nonhlanhla Gumede-Shabalala gave up a blossoming career in banking to help her father through a crippling drought in 2010. The 35-year-old has not looked back since and is now the proud owner of a flourishing sugar cane farm worth an estimated R10 million, writes Peter Mashala.

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Nonhlanhla Gumede-Shabalala is the owner of Uthandimvelo Farm in KwaZulu-Natal. PHOTOS: PETER MASHALA

Dare to Dream – Abel Naphtaly

In 2002, farming veteran Abel Naphtaly found his way back to agriculture by accident while searching for a slaughter ox when his successful security company celebrated 10 years in business. The purchase not only renewed his love of farming, it also sparked a new flame – he has since developed a passion for the Santa Gertrudis cattle breed. He shared his story with Peter Mashala.

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Apples lead the way for Dr. Job Mthombeni

Dr Job Mthombeni has come a long way since his days as a farm labourer. Thanks partly to a successful construction business, he has been able to make his farming dreams come true. Hard work, planning and the ability to learn from his mistakes have also played a huge role in Job’s path to commercial farming. He talks to Peter Mashala about lessons learnt, and the way forward.

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Up Close and Personal with Lerato Senakhomo

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? I would have studied pig production at Buhle – this is what I think is missing in my career. YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE? Having involved John Deere in the operation. It has revolutionised my farming business. WHO HAS MADE THE BIGGEST…

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Diligence & Diversity: Recipe For Farming Success For Lerato Senakhomo

Positive encouragement from her parents, solid training and the right attitude set Lerato Senakhomo on the path to success in the farming world. Not a woman to let failure stand in her way, she takes advantage of opportunities to learn about agriculture and surrounds herself with excellent mentors. Lerato speaks to Peter Mashala about her thriving agri-business.

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lerato Senakhomo stands among maize from which she is proud to claim a 5.5t/ha yield. After initial low yields owing to a low pH, the soil has since been corrected by applying lime. PHOTOS: PETER MASHALA

In the right place at the right time – Fortune Poto

Fortune Poto, a farmer from Bela-Bela in Limpopo, built up her small-scale piggery from a modest start. The national lockdown restrictions, which have hit many businesses hard, gave her the break she needed and put her in a prime position to grow her venture. Less than a year on, she aims to now become a fully fledged commercial farmer soon!

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Letter From The Editor: Make Agriculture Profitable, Not Sexy!

I think 2020 was one of the toughest years our country and our economy at large have had to endure. Not only did we lose many fellow South Africans to the Covid-19 pandemic, but our businesses, including many farming operations, have also suffered. Yet despite these challenges, we have shown…

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Farmer cheats: Keep a daily diary

One of the most underestimated management techniques on any farm is to keep simple, straight-forward daily diary. Not ony does it help enormously with planning and getting your thinking sorted out every day, it’s also an extremely handy way of checking what was done when, why, by whom and how.…

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Farmer Cheats: Diarrhoea is a killer!

Of all the goat kids born in the communal areas of KwaZulu-Natal, only 40% survive. That means a staggering 60% die! Predators like feral dogs do a lot of damage, as well do pneumonia (pasturella) and internal parasites. But another major killer is diarrhoea – the dehydration it causes can…

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