BBL PARTICIPANT: Rebecca Mamonyane, Verena D, Mpumalanga Province

In a Nutshell

Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Rebecca Mamonyane, Verena D, Mpumalanga has developed her horticulture and nutrition knowledge. Through her intensive gardening efforts, she is able to grow enough food for herself plus extra to sell. She says…


When Bra Kwena and Mrs. Damba first came to us, I had never gardened before. I thought it would be very complicated, but they were so clear and so patient that they made it seem easy.  Through Bra Kwena I learnt how to make trenches and that meant that I started off with nice, rich soil that can hold moisture. I think that the main reason why my garden has done so well is all that early effort that went into those trenches.

I am not saying it is easy. I work hard at it. Some days I wake up early and I think: ‘What if Mrs. Damba comes today, and my garden is not looking good?’ That makes me jump out of bed! At the moment I have lovely, big pumpkins and butternuts and tomatoes and lots of spinach. You know that Food Robot that the SocioTech training talks about? You can see it all in my garden. I have enough for myself and extra to sell. So, I think if she came to my garden today, she would be impressed. I hope so.

There is a real problem with water in this community. By problem, I mean that there isn’t enough of it. A lot of the time it doesn’t come out of the taps at all. I am actually very lucky because I have a borehole and some people say I should sell that water to those without, but I won’t. I find the idea of selling this God-given, natural resource shocking. Water is not something that people should own. We need to learn to become a community and a nation of people who look after each other. That is the way to a better South Africa.

"People shouldn’t have to spend so much, just to travel to go and buy food."

This group of people you see here, we did the BBL MyFood training together and we have become good friends and we do support each other in those ways that I am talking about. Right from the start we worked together. We all dug each other’s trenches. We all collected bones for each other. We see each other as a support structure. We spend a lot of time sharing ideas. Lately we have been talking about trying to create a cooperative shop. You see, where we are, the shops are very far away. A return trip to the Kwagga Centre shops is R140. It is too much. People shouldn’t have to spend so much, just to travel to go and buy food.

We think that our group could create a shop that supplies healthy, good quality, affordable food to our community. It is early days yet, but we are gathering information and making plans.