Marikana North West

BBL PARTICIPANT: Dibuseng Ramotsoanyane, Greenspark, Northwest Province

In a Nutshell

Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Dibuseng Ramotsoanyane from Greenspark in Northwest Province has made great progress with production and business, and enriched her life with strong supportive friendships.

She says…

Dubiseng

 

My garden serves two purposes. I use it to feed my family – I no longer have to buy vegetables for my own family because we eat from our own soil – and it is a business selling into the community.

It is important to know that if I can do it, anyone can do it, because before I started with SocioTech, I was not a natural gardener or a person who felt passionate about growing vegetables. Both my parents are skilled gardeners and there was always a food garden at our house. So, when I was a little girl, I helped my dad because he told me to and because it is in my nature to help others; but when I grew up and left home, I stopped gardening. I am not really sure why, except to say that there was no one to push me.

Then SocioTech arrived and it was through Zenobia that I truly discovered the joy of working with the soil and growing vegetables.

"We know how to motivate each other when days are dark."

The other thing that has really helped is this group of gardeners you see here today. We didn’t know each other before SocioTech came, but now we are more than just a group of people with a shared interest. We are a support group.

We met about a year ago at the Christian Mission Church when Mama Daisy Zikali called us to a meeting to discover what this SocioTech thing was all about. Now it is impossible to imagine not being friends with these people. They are a vital part of my community. I truly thank God and thank Mama Daisy because through this process we have become like family. We know how to motivate each other when days are dark. I believe we were combined by God.

garden-care
Angeline Nkosi

The SocioTech way of gardening is different to the methods my parents used when I was a child. We used to just dig and turn the top layer of earth but with SocioTech it is all about improving the quality of the soil. That first stage of soil improvement is hard work. Deep trenching is not for lazy people. It involves a lot of back pain! At the end of each day, you fall into bed and sleep with no time to cook or watch TV. That is the bad news, but the good news is that, once it is done, the benefits are very clear. I battled to finish my first trenches.

There were so many times when I thought about giving up. Thankfully I found the strength to continue because they have worked so well that I am thinking of digging three more.

 

"...have worked so well that I am thinking of digging three more."

 

My vegetables not only look beautifully green and big, they also taste good. I think that is because they are organic and have come straight from the ground. Fresh and with no horrible chemicals. This is farming and eating God’s way. Not like in supermarkets where you don’t know what chemicals have been used and you can see that the vegetables are not fresh. In these days with so many diseases customers like to know how their food was grown. Since COVID everyone is interested in keeping things pure, simple, and fresh. If you can see the farm where the crops grow you can have confidence that the product is pure.

It is not just customers who tell me that they feel that way about my vegetables. I feel it too. I know that I am 100% healthier than I was now that I am eating these vegetables. My sister’s children live with me, and I can see the change in them. Not just in the way they grow and their strength. It is also in the way that they behave.

 

"If something goes wrong or someone gets sick you have a safety net. "

 

All that makes it sound like it is all about work and struggle, but it is also about joy and happiness and beautiful flavours. When you have your own garden, you have much more control over the menu in your own house. You don’t have to rely on what is sold in the shops. For instance, I like hot, spicy food, so I grow those tiny Mozambican bright red chillies and then make big batches of chili sauce. A chili picked straight from the garden has a special flavour. My chili sauce has a blend of onion, tomato, garlic, chili and a bit of vinegar. I bottle it and then whenever I start to cook, I use a big splash of that as the base of my sauce. It doesn’t matter if it is the start of a beef stew or chakalaka, that chili sauce is the foundation. My mother is not as much of a chili fan as me and sometimes she complains, but most of the time we are all happy.

In terms of my sales outside of the family, I have had two successful harvests. When I sell, I make sure that the crops are fresh from the ground. I pick and immediately put the produce into a big plastic bowl and go to where there are gatherings of people. Places like clinics and taxi ranks work well.

I have been saving my profits – I am not sure for what yet, but it is reassuring to have savings. If something goes wrong or someone gets sick you have a safety net.

I learnt so much from SocioTech’s MyFuture training. I liked that everything starts with God. From the first meeting, that really impressed me. When it came to business and personal finance, I was clueless. Now I am clear that when you sell you must calculate whether you are making a profit. The numbers must be in the plus column not the minus.

Angeline Nkosi 1

One of the great things about our gardening group is that we encourage and push each other. We haven’t known each other very long but we have come together as a supportive and encouraging team.

Zenobia is also a big help. Every time I thought about giving up Zenobia would call or visit, asking: ‘How far are you guys?’

There were times when I was feeling disheartened and overwhelmed and Zenobia would come and work with me. She was always more than just words. She was love and physical support. If Zenobia is on your team, you never feel alone.

When people ask me about my garden and how I got started I tell them to contact SocioTech for guidance and then to dig, dig and dig some more. Make those trenches!

With SocioTech, it is up to you. The future is in your hands. If you follow the methods and work hard, the results come.