Lindiwe Sithole, host of African Farming Season 2, goes to the Free State to visit Nkosana Mtambo, a farmer who has a great love of his community. From the beginning, he pledged to uplift the people in his region. He has a close bond with his neighbours and invests a lot of time in these relationships.
“One of the lessons I learned early on is to humble myself, ask for help when I need it, and foster good relationships with my neighbours,” Nkosana Mtambo says. When Sithole arrived on the farm, he was busy counting his livestock. “Monday is stock-taking day,” he says.
“One of the challenges we face is stock theft and farm attacks. I was attacked a while ago; fortunately, by the grace of God I survived.”
This is one of the reasons why Mtambo values his relationships with his neighbours and his community. “In times of trouble you call the people who are the nearest to you for help.” He now patrols the region in the mornings and he also joined the Community Policing Forum (CPF).
“I take turns and also patrol the area some evenings.” He says his neighbours play a really big role in his life, just like his family. “Farmers need their neighbours to help them farm better and secure their communities.”
Praveen Dwarika, managing director at Lemang Agricultural Services, says building relationships within your community is vital. “Farmers do not operate in a vacuum; they need to be involved in the communities by sharing resources and knowledge.
Ultimately your products will end up in their households. A lot of power and strength can be added to your business if you foster good relationships with your neighbours and surrounding communities.”
According to Dwarika, it is not only about safety and security but also about the sharing of knowledge and resources such as mechanisation, and helping one another out during peak seasons. “It is easy to start building relationships – attend your local community meetings and start up conversations. It all begins with communication. Never be afraid to call on one another.”