A JoJo tank and vegetable tunnels filled with a variety of vegetables fill Kgaretswe’s yard, which she has converted into a vegetable farm for the benefit of both her family and community.
The 49-year-old is one of the beneficiaries of the Sibanye-Stillwater Marikana Renewal initiative, implemented by SocioTech and Umsizi, which for years have worked together to come up with ideas that help empower communities.
Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods programme, Kgaretswe has been able to grow her business and transfer skills to others.
Kgaretswe, who lives in Majakaneng in the North West, says someone from Socio-Tech visited her in 2017 and told her how she could grow her then small vegetable patch into something bigger. That visit was the start of better things to come and today Kgaretswe not only has her own business, but enables Majakaneng community members to produce their own fresh produce.
“Through them, I learnt about developing the soil and growing [food] God’s way – organically, without chemicals. I supply street vendors and also supply small catering businesses that sell in the streets,”she says.
The programme gave Kgaretswe seeds, material for a vegetable tunnel and buckets to water the vegetables. She did so well that last year, she walked away with a SocioTech award and used the prize money to build a second tunnel.
Kgaretswe is today able to support her family, while also saving money every month.
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Through the Phinda Phinda project that is part of the programmes offered by SocioTech, Kgaretswe has trained 16 people to start vegetable gardens. These people in turn teach friends, family and neighbours.
“When my business began to grow, people in the community could not believe it and started asking me how I do it. I told them to come to school because Sibanye is here for all of us; we must help each other to put food on the table.”
For more information about the Sibanye-Stillwater Marikana Renewal initiative visit www.marikanarenewal.co.za
Written by Dikeledi Molobela
This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk’uzenzele.
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