South Africa: The retrenchments at gold mines in Matjhabeng local municipality provided some ex-workers with a new lease of life. Single mother of five, Jane Mokoena and 24 other ex-miners have established a vegetable and fruit garden at Phedisanang clinic in the K5 section of Odendaalsrus.
They showed off their impressive farm to a delegation led by Premier Dukwana Mxolisi, MEC for Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Saki Mokoena, the Executive Mayor of Lejweleputswa District municipality Veronica Ntakumbana and the Director General of the Free State Provincial Government Kopung Ralikontsane on Saturday, 29 July 2023.
The delegation visited the area for the post-Nelson Mandela International Day outreach programme. This group of emerging farmers proposed establishing a vegetable and fruit garden in the clinic’s vacant backyard.
“I am a big dreamer and an equally hard worker, and currently, my biggest dream is owning a farm and being involved in its day-to-day runnings with my children. This project has taught me that nothing great is ever built overnight and, moreover, that I have the ability to sustain myself and my community. I am excited about my newfound skill and believe food Security is in our hands,” Mokoena said.
With only three months since inception, the fruit of their labour is still a while from being served, and this confident team of emerging farmers envision a fully fledged farm and did not shy away from the opportunity to request assistance from MEC Mokoena, who acknowledged the work done so far.
The Department of Agriculture donated wheelbarrows, hosepipes, spades, forks, and seeds of spinach, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, cabbage, onion, and four peach trees.
A few blocks away at Mohobe Primary School, a similar project is blooming.
The school has opened its gates to welcome ten members of the community who have a wonderful passion for gardening to plant vegetables on their previously vacant land.
The land has now become a healthy cabbage, carrot and beetroot patch, which, at harvest, its produce is sold to community members, and the surplus is used in the school’s kitchen. The impressive team of farmers approached the school with nothing but an idea to utilize the land and a few vegetable seeds.