Kathlehong

BBL PARTICIPANT: Angelina Nkosi, Magagula Heights, Kathlehong, Gauteng

In a Nutshell

Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Angelina Nkosi from Kathlehong has grown in her understanding of interpersonal dynamics and she has applied this knowledge to her business practices.

She has a clear, comprehensive plan for future business growth and is reaping financial rewards through her work. Her sons and nieces have not only benefitted financially from her efforts, but also through her example and the positive expectation that they can and should shape their own future.

She says…

Angelina Nkosi

I first met the people from SocioTech in 2019. First, it was Lebohang (who taught me how to improve my soil with trenches and helped me to get a small garden net to protect my crops) and later Charles. In the time that I have known them both I have learnt so much. Some of the things I learnt are hands on practical things about growing spinach, onions, cabbage and lettuce and managing finances but other things are things you can’t see or touch directly but make a big difference to life.

I mean things about relating to people and understanding my purpose. There is so much to be learnt about the way we relate to each other within families and within communities. It is important to know how to respect others and be respected by others. Sometimes it is difficult to have patience with others and with yourself but it is important to do so. Through SocioTech I learnt to understand myself, my family, my community and how to make that understanding work for my business.

 

"it is important for a woman to work for herself and not wait for a man to provide everything."

Business is in my blood. When I was a little girl growing up in Mpumalanga (I was born in Wakkerstoom) my grandmother sold cigarettes and African beer and she always used to tell me that “it is important for a woman to work for herself and not wait for a man to provide everything.” My grand-mother lived by that rule – she had her own cows and built her own home. I got married and moved to Katlehong but later, when I got divorced, I remembered those wise words. Especially after I lost my job and I had children to care for and no income. I tried many businesses and at the same time I was trying to study and also raise my two sons and my four nieces. I was 50 years old, and doing all that is not easy. Through all that hardship, my grandmother’s wisdom and example helped me press on.

garden-care
Angeline Nkosi

Looking back on those days, even though they were very hard, I think my children learnt valuable lessons. I think it is important for children to see their parents working hard and persisting – it teaches them what being an adult is all about. I see many young people nowadays who don’t want to work and who don’t follow through on promises. They say yes to training and then they don’t arrive on the day. Even those ones who want to work don’t seem to understand that they could work for themselves. They don’t think about starting their own business, they want someone else to sayhere is a job. Here is the money.”

My oldest son is in business for himself and doing well – he has five employees now - and I think part of his motivation and skill comes from his childhood when he saw his mother starting a business and working for herself. From his earliest days he knew this was something adults did. It shaped his mindset. My younger son is the same way – he has registered 15 companies, including a small NPO.

At the moment, I have two main income generating projects. First is my food garden. I love working in my food garden but it is not always easy.  My main problem is with illegal dumping right next to where I am trying to work. I cleaned the whole area before I started, so the dumping makes me really depressed. Dumping brings rats and other pests. When they dig holes to put the rubbish in, it damages the soil quality and makes it difficult for a tractor to go in. My dream is to expand that plot and I am looking forward to growing more body and soul with agriculture but that would need a tractor to prepare the land so you can see why the dumping makes me so sad.

There is also the problem of where and how to sell. This is a poor community and there is not a lot of money to buy. It is very difficult to make the pricing work. When you go to the tuck shops, the owners say that they can buy tomatoes cheaper elsewhere. You try to explain that these tomatoes are better but they don’t want to listen. I have been talking with other food gardeners in my area and we think it would be a good idea to try and start a small market so that we can sell crops all together. Our other thought is to combine our products so that we have a larger amount - I met a guy who has a market in Wakkerstroom and he says that if we small growers come together he will buy from us and collect to take to his market. These are ideas that we are talking about and trying to think how to turn them into reality. Such ideas take careful planning but we will make it work.

My other project is a small internet café and printing service that my younger son and I run from my home. School children come to us to print out homework and adults do things like print CVs. I charge R4 per page. This project was not my idea. The idea came from my son – he registered the company and set things up but I can see now that it really helps the community and fills a big need. It isn’t  easy – when you work with computer equipment something is always needing to be repaired! Learning how to save so that there is money for repairs has been one of the main things I got through SocioTech.

Charles is a great teacher and conversations with him are always very inspiring. It is very helpful when he tells Bible stories that show me God’s purpose within everything I do. When he describes the work of other SocioTech participants and how they have achieved success it increases my confidence to move forward with my business.

As you can probably see, I love working with SocioTech. The only thing that makes me sad is that while I am benefiting here in Magagula Heights, Kathlehong, the people in Mpumalanga where I come from are not getting the same service. I have been talking to Charles about seeing what we can do to get SocioTech to them too!

 

 

Angeline Nkosi 1