Aviwe Gxotiwe

Some of the best business lessons Aviwe Gxotiwe ever learnt was while trading milk, vegetables and firewood off the back of his farm bakkie in the former homeland of Ciskei. Often selling to Pakistani and Somali traders, Aviwe soon learnt to respect the work ethic and business skill of these immigrant businesspeople. Today this 33-year-old farmer applies those same lessons to own business – the 2 300 ha farm Soutvleij in the Somerset East district of the Eastern Cape. With 150ha of irrigation that produces lucerne for both local dairy farmers and his own flock of 2 000 wool Merinos, Aviwe has already achieved significant success. Now a partnership with the agribusiness Humansdorp Coop promises to provide him with the scale to take his business to the next level. 

Lizo ‘Mandla’ & Johnson Mandlendoda

A ‘mixed bag’ works well for the brothers Lizo ‘Mandla’ and Johnson Mandlendoda, whose agricultural interests and activities while separate, are tethered by family and business bonds. Their successful ventures embrace markets that range from fresh produce to feedlots, from tourism to mohair.

Johnson manages 2 000 Dohne Merino and Merino sheep, 1 200 Angora goats, 800 cattle, and various species of game on Geluk Farm (7 000ha) in Middleburg. Mandla runs a 44ha farm where he oversees the DICLA Training Facility, and runs the vegetable production, a packhouse that supplies vegetables to various retailers, a bed and breakfast, and a farmer’s warehouse that sells farm supplies.

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. Today Abel keeps just over 150 breeding cows and six bulls, two for each herd. As part of his diversification strategy, Abel runs a small-stock operation of 220 white and black-headed Dorpers, and about 120 Boer goats. His focus is on producing quality animals for the market. 

Dineo Mokgoshi

Tourism leads to serious farming

It would be the inspiring story of another farmer that would give Dineo Mokgoshi the courage to finally take the leap and go farming. If Dorah Matlou could become a commercial female farmer in Rust de Winter, Limpopo, then maybe Dineo too stood a chance. Dorah’s story of overcoming hardships to establish a profitable, award-winning farming operation so touched Dineo’s heart that she made the decision to leave a lucrative business catering for international tourists to finally go farming.

Mbali Nwoko

Mbali Nwoko is the founder and CEO of The Green Terrace, Gauteng’s 2018 Agricultural Writers’ Association New Entrant into Commercial Farming winner, and a 702 Sage Small Business Awards finalist. She has had a series of hard knocks, including the passing of her husband and the Covid-19 pandemic. But Mbali says she draws strength from her experiences and is upbeat about a future in farming. Going the hydroponic route to minimise risk, Mbali is farming with 1ha, under 20 multi-span tunnels. 






Pinky Hlabedi

Success despite some tough times

Who said farming would be easy? In our first episode of the new season of African Farming, we feature a well-known name in Gauteng’s agricultural circles: Pinky Hlabedi of Ba kwa-Hlabedi Farming in the Vaal area. What a formidable woman! Not only has Ma Pinky earned her farming stripes by garnering a string of awards, but she is also a shining example of how one triumphs when farming gets tough. You simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off and soldier on. After a devastating brucellosis outbreak in her beef cattle herd and the theft of most of her wool sheep, Pinky managed to bounce back. Today she is excelling as a commercial grain and livestock farmer. Her story is not only one of a woman empowering herself in a male-dominated industry, it is also one of a mother building a business for her children. Come join us for the inspiring story of how this former Soweto activist started small by watering and tending to community food gardens, and achieved real commercial farming success through hard work and dogged perseverance.

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