BBL PARTICIPANT: Sylvia Manchidi Makoloi, Mogaladi, Limpopo Province
In a Nutshell
Mrs Sylvia Manchidi Makoloi lives in Mogaladi village on the Mpumalanga/Limpopo border. Through SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) programme she has added to her horticulture knowledge. She sells fresh fruit and vegetables in her village. Last year she also sold dried morogo in Pretoria.
I grew up here and I have always liked being in nature. When I was a little girl, I always used to work with my mother in her fields. When I was finished helping my mother, I would always be out with my friends gathering wild food. You know how little girls are – we were always making play-play cooking. We copied things we saw our mothers doing at home, but we used those wild things we found in the fields. We would do things like pick dithetlwa berry-like fruits and then pound them up in a tin can with water and a little bit of sugar from our mothers’ cupboards. We would make a little fire and cook that mixture up to make a very nice juice. We would catch locusts and small birds and cook them over those fires too.
I still love to cook. One of the reasons that my vegetable garden is so important to me, is that it is a source of quality ingredients. Home grown vegetables are fresher and tastier. Especially the organic way that we farm. I am so grateful to SocioTech who taught me how to farm organically and how to improve my soil with trench beds because I can definitely taste the difference.
"My food garden is not just a way of getting tasty food for myself, it is also my business. "
My food garden is not just a way of getting tasty food for myself, it is also my business. I sell my vegetables. I walk around the village with bundles of spinach and beetroot and butternuts and people buy from me. I also process and supply dried morogo to customers in Pretoria. That is good business. Morogo wa dinawa and pumpkin leaf morogo is very popular in cities because people want to eat it, but they don’t have time or the garden space to make it themselves. City people love that traditional, healthy taste of pumpkin leaf morogo cooked with a tomato and an onion, perhaps a few cubes of fresh, young pumpkin, a bit of stock and a tablespoon of Rama.
Last year I filled a 20-litre bucket with dried morogo measured out into R30 packets. My sister took it to Pretoria, and she sold those packets for me. I made R900 profit. That is good business.
Remembering these business successes in the past makes me happy and sad at the same time because since the end of January we have had no water. The taps have run dry, and nothing is coming out of them. When we ask the municipality, no one can tell us what is happening. I am trying to grow my vegetables and I have dried some bean and pumpkin leaves, but it is a terrible situation. The soil is dry, dry, dry. So many crops are dead or dying. If the water doesn’t come back soon there will be almost no vegetables to sell this year.