Tsakane Ekurhuleni

BBL PARTICIPANT: Tsegofatso Mafatlha, Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng

In a Nutshell

Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Tsegofatso Mafatlha has registered a company to sell value-added products from her agricultural production. Her success inspires the next generation to shape their own future too.

She says…

Tsegofatso Mafatlha

My father (who lives in Zeerust) has always been a very good food gardener. He is 78 years old now and he still grows almost everything he needs. And does almost all the work himself. When I was a child, we had all the fruit and vegetables we needed. There were mielies, wheat, sugar cane, green beans, peaches, apricots, nartjies and oranges. The only things we bought from the shop were meat and oil. My mother used to can those peaches in old mayonnaise jars so that we could have jelly and custard with peaches even in the winter. She would also make us delicious dikgobe from the beans and mielies. 

As a little girl my job was to water. I know some children also had the responsibility of bird scaring but not in my home. My dad had this great way of keeping birds away. He had an old cow bell attached to a rope. He sat under a tree, and he pulled that rope if birds came near his crops. If he went out my mother sat with that rope. 

I first met the people from SocioTech in 2016 so my garden is now quite mature. I have trained lots of other people since then. Maybe as many as 70! I am always on hand when there is a new training session to help those people who are having problems. It is such a wonderful feeling when you see someone who was struggling start to thrive through growing, eating and selling vegetables.

The first step on the SocioTech journey is getting healthy. People on chronic medication must eat before taking pills. Getting the right vitamins and minerals is so important. And there are so many healing remedies that can come out of a garden. Recently there was a granny with painful feet and heart problems, so I brought her celery leaves, and we made tea to relieve her symptoms. 

I built my tunnel in April of this year and I love it. I grow chilies in my tunnel and process them into a delicious peri-peri sauce which I sell for R50 a bottle. It works beautifully as a marinade for meat as well as a table sauce. I market through a local whatsapp group, and I have registered a company, ‘Tshwaro and Kids’. My daughter, Bonolo, is 10 years old. She sees my success and she asked for a corner in the tunnel. This season she grew strawberries in that corner. She took them to school and sold them for 50 cents per strawberry! Sometimes children are the best teachers. I did the MyFuture training, and I have explained some of it to my daughter. As young as she is she has taken in the message. If customers ask for credit she says: “no Mama”. 

I recently sent my dad some photos of the tunnel and my crops growing inside it. He was so impressed. He wants a tunnel too. When it comes to keeping birds off crops, it works even better than a cow bell and a rope… 

Tsegofatso Mafatlha
Tsegofatso Mafatlha