BBL PARTICIPANT: Jane Skhosana, Bundu, Mpumalanga
In a Nutshell
Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Jane Skhosana from Bundu in Mpumalanga has grown in confidence as a gardener and achieved financial rewards through her work. She is saving in order to expand her business.
I started gardening with my grandmother in Witbank so, so long ago. I was a tiny girl when I started. Really, I have been growing maize and pumpkins since those plants were bigger than me!
Even though I was an experienced gardener, I learnt many new things through Mr Kwena. Before I did the MyFood training I didn’t do trenches, I mulched a little bit but not much and I put too many chemicals in the soil. Now I farm without chemicals and my crops taste better. I think they taste better because they have more nutrients than before. These vegetables are full of calcium and zinc because of the way we prepared the soil in those trenches. Through MyFood I have also learnt how to handle pests naturally.
Cooking and gardening go together. I love eating all sorts of things from my garden. My favourite changes all the time, but at the moment I think my favourite recipe is when I cook seshebo with spinach, green peppers, brinjals and, of course, tomato. I don’t like onions. What makes my recipe so lovely is cooking the tomatoes and the brinjals really long and slow. That brings out the flavour.
The vegetables from my garden are not only for my pot. I also do business. I sell some of my tomatoes to a lady in the village who has a sphatlo business. I grow peanuts and I have an isingoco (macadamia nut) tree. School children love those nuts. I sell them 20 cents per nut. I keep chickens, layers and broilers, for sale too.
"You should rest, not give up. Rest and when you feel strong come back to the task."
Through the MyFuture training I learnt about saving and planning to grow a business. I knew that in theory before, but MyFuture gave me practical details about how to make an idea into a real thing. Through that process I have started saving. I want to buy a bakkie so that I can drive around and sell vegetables to a larger group of people. At the moment, customers come to me and that works okay, but I could expand my business if could get to them. Each time I save some money I think about how I am getting closer to that bakkie.
It isn’t always easy. I work alone and sometimes I feel very tired. The important thing when you get tired is to rest. You should rest, not give up. Rest and when you feel strong come back to the task.
What is wonderful about SocioTech is that they bring knowledge bit by bit. It all adds up over time. They don’t just dump it all on you in one go. Each time Mr Kwena comes, he adds a bit more. Little by little means that you really take in the knowledge at each stage. Mr Kwena can teach you how to solve a problem when that problem comes up. He is always available if you need his advice. It is that support that allows you to keep going even when you are tired.