BBL PARTICIPANT: Lucy Msiza, Ramokone, Limpopo Province

In a Nutshell

Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Lucy Msiza from Ramokone, Limpopo has all the fresh, delicious vegetables she needs for herself plus some surplus to sell to her neighbours.

She remembers the ways of life when she was a child…



I did the SocioTech BBL training with Mam Damba. I think it was just before COVID, or maybe during COVID – 2019 or 2020, somewhere around there. We learnt about deep trenching and mulching. Later I did the poultry training too. A lot of the talk was about (the maize planting method called) “Farming God’s Way” which reminded me of when I was a child. My parents didn’t use that phrase ‘Farming God’s Way’ but they used many of the same methods. No artificial fertilizer needed when you have a kraal with cattle. No hiring expensive tractors for planting when there is community support.

When I was a child, we all went into the fields to help each other when there were hard jobs to be done. When the soil needed tilling or the harvest had to be brought in, we came together to share the workload. Everyone had their own fields, but we had a feeling of community. No one expected to be paid for helping their neighbours. We called it ligima – we cooked and brought pap and morogo and milk. We shared our labour and our food. These days it is everyone for themselves. People don’t want to work. They will watch others work and then when the harvest comes in, they put their hand out.

That is not good. It is bad for adults, and it is especially bad for children. We have a generation of children who sit and look at their phones all day. They are lazy to go outside. When we were children, we worked with our parents and benefited from their knowledge and skill. We were considered part of family businesses, and we learnt by watching our elders and doing as they did.

"...they are delicious. Delicious and profitable..."

It wasn’t all hard work and no fun. My mother had cows and we children would try to milk them and if we succeeded, we would put fresh milk straight from the cow inside those mavilo (monkey oranges). That fruit is sour, so when you add the milk it curdles and makes a sort of custardy yoghurt. Delicious. And fun. Modern children don’t know anything about such things. 

My garden is smallanyana space, but I have everything I need for myself plus some surplus to sell to my neighbours. The tomato picked straight from the garden is so much sweeter than one from a shop. The pumpkins I grow are bigger and tastier. And I get to use all of the plant. At the shops they throw a lot of the plant away – including a lot of the tasty bits. Leaves and stems get cut off. Those are often the best part of the plant. Why throw away pumpkin leaves when they are a delicious green vegetable? Just make a tomato gravy and add a pinch of baking soda to soften the leaves and you have a delicious meal that is full of vitamins.

Inside each pumpkin are many seeds. Dry them and they are delicious. Delicious and profitable – a handful like this is R10.