Contentment in your authentic truth
For me agricultural activity of any form is priceless. I can never tell a story of my life without mentioning this kraal. Milk from this kraal strengthened my growing tiny bones. Manure from this kraal grew vegetables and mealies that filled my tummy. My tiny hands crushed/surfed manure crumbs and filled bags to fertilize our fields -not a garden but fields. I stood by this kraal and led our bulls to the fields, proud that they could stop at my command. Today the African National Congress president, Cyril Ramaphosa called for Agricultural Revolution, which is also a key action of the National Development Plan vision for 2030. He mentioned that we could learn from other countries such as Kenya. I am open to be taught and it will not be difficult, considering that my memory is filled with smell of wild spinach, peas, beans, cabbage, potatoes, pumpkins, peaches, apples, apricots and mulberries, all from my grandmother’s garden. We were the workforce she needed to get this subsistence farming going. The schools even supported it by ensuring that if you missed school because it was the ploughing season, extra catch up classes would be scheduled for you. The neighbours practiced marketing or value exchange and they would provide labour in exchange for produce and seeds and go and plant their own vegetables. There was no fear for exploitation because justice and fairness were community values. It does not have to go that far, but there is unemployed youth in the rural areas and there are bare fields and gardens. My point is that we grew up not having much but there was subsistence farming and that provided food security.
I am glad agriculture is now identified as a key growth sector. I believe blessing our land to be productive and produce again would bring dignity to many. Yes, land expropriation within the realm of the law, will be part of it. Government support, subsidies and many incentives to get our land to produce again will be a necessity.
We need a cultural change. Such a huge segment of our society, judging by levels of employment, cannot survive on grants. We need to inspire a culture of self-sufficiency and pride. My grandmother left us with legacy- her mealie fields but I have also been guilty, because they are now lying barren and deserted in those undulating valleys and hills, where my umbilical cord lies buried and calling for my action. I am a migrant labourer……
This is my authentic truth.
Me, my siblings and cousins sharing memories by our kraal.