By Zuko Komisa
The constant narrative that successful black farmers don’t exist. Or the random question asked after any land debate about what black people are going to do with the land when we get it sparked inspiration to introduce these black succesful farmers who are using the land productively.
Here are a few black farmers you need to know about:
Zandile Cewu from Indwe, Eastern Cape, is a successful livestock farmer. She runs three farms and has over 100 cows. She started in 201 when she left the city to look afte her family’s farms, Brooklyn and Moberly, near Indwe.
M’Hudi is a family enterprise owned and operated by the Rangakas, a black family who moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town in 2003 to realise their dream of owning a wine farm. With no prior winemaking experience, mother Malmsey, father Diale, and their three children, Tseliso, Lebogang, and Senyane have created a successful brand. M’Hudi wines are sold in South Africa.
Garlic farmer Molly Nikelo in her fields in Nieu-Bethesda in the Eastern Cape a village of 1,500 people some 750 km (470 miles) south of Johannesburg, also famous for the world famous Owl House created by Helen Martins in the 50’s and made famous by Athol Fugard in “The Road to Mecca”. Molly Nikelo uses a spring that wells up from deep within the surrounding mountains, it also happens to be the only permanent water source in the region.
Xolani Gumede runs a strawberry farm alongside his wife Yoliswa. It has become a multimillion-rand agro-processing operation, Cappeny Estates, near Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal. With the farm yielding an expected 150 tonnes of strawberries season after season, it’s clear they’ve gotten this farming thing right. Xolani has Master’s in Project Management degree from the University of Southern Queensland (Australia).
Moleleki Mthimkulu is a maize & cattle farmer from Free State. He acquired the land in 2007 when he got hold of the farm Astoria in the Senekal district. This farm is 524 ha in total – 134 ha of land and 383 ha of veld. In 2012, the farm succeeded in producing 250 tonnes of grain and is still going strong.
Chilli Tshilidze Matshidzula
Chilli Tshilidze Matshidzula, a 30-year-old young dairy farmer, originally hails from Limpopo. He oversees the Little Barnet Trust and is a 40% shareholder on the outskirts of Alexandria in the Eastern Cape, which has over 800 cows. His operations are supplying milk to the Shoprite Group, and the surrounding communities.
Ntsiki Biyela holds the distinction of being South Africa’s first black female winemaker. Biyela started her career in 2004 at the Stellenbosch vineyard of Stellekaya, where she is a head winemaker. Biyela recently started her own Aslina wine brand, which is currently sold in the United States, Denmark, and Germany.