Meet the farmers

Passion and hard work lead to success for Maria Tswai

During our first visit to Maria Tswai two years ago, she had just received 35 Bonsmara cows and a bull through the Sernick emerging farmers development programme. She now has a herd of more than 150 breeding cows and has repaid her loan three years ahead of schedule. Peter Mashala caught up with her again to find out what drives her and what her future holds.

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Heritage cultivates success in young criminologist-turned-farmer

As a third-generation farmer, Hlobisile Yende follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather. Since starting farming full-time three years ago without formal experience, Hlobisile has learnt a lot through her father’s teachings, participation in agricultural groups, and online research. Peter Mashala visited her on her family farm in Heidelberg.

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Engineer turns to farming to carry dad’s legacy

Tracy Marobobo, one of the top performers in the Sernick Group’s farmer development programme, gave up an engineering career to continue her father’s farming legacy. Tracy and her husband, Thukela, farm alongside her father, Matoo Khothule, and are setting a great example of successful succession planning. Peter Mashala visited them on their farm in Ventersburg in the Free State.

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A bright mind turns to agriculture

When Thabo Mavundza’s academic journey to become a medical doctor took an unexpected turn, the South African agricultural industry was gifted with a bright young mind. A bold and forward-looking agricultural engineer, Thabo leads Westfalia Fruit Africa, a multinational supplier of fresh fruit and related products. Peter Mashala met Thabo in Tzaneen to learn more about his journey.

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Female farmers digging in for the greater good

The first crop of female farmers has completed the first phase of Momentum Metropolitan Foundation’s Women in Farming programme in Pietermaritzburg. This programme seeks to upskill and integrate the young farmers into value chains, in the process stimulating rural food security and local economies. Robyn Joubert reports on an initiative that’s tapping into agriculture for the greater good.

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Love of goats pulls Elvis back to his roots

Elvis Maremani grew up herding goats in the rural village of Mashamba, near Makhado. Seeking an escape from poverty and rural village life, he followed a career path into the corporate world. However, a chance visit to a renowned goat and sheep breeder inspired his journey back to his farming roots. He now farms Indigenous Veld Goats, Savanna goats and Bosvelder sheep on communal land in his home village. Peter Mashala paid him a visit.

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Drawn into farming by a father’s legacy

As a former motor mechanic, Petrus Tsotetsi wasn’t initially destined for agriculture. He was pulled into the industry by a family tragedy that led to him inheriting the family farm. Now 13 years later, Petrus is an award-winning farmer driven by passion and dedication. Peter Mashala visited him on his farm Die Bult, between Kestell and Harrismith.

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