Mahlatse Matlakana,20 began farming as a part-time job at a neighbouring in the Blouberg municipality during school holidays to support her unemployed mother and two younger siblings. Five years later, she leases an 8-hectare farm and produces green peppers for four national food wholesalers.
Upon completing her Matric in 2016, Matlakana was conflicted between following her passion for farming and applying for a Law Degree.“Applying for a Law Degree seemed like the right thing to do, so I did and I was accepted. However, I decided to take a gap year and farm green peppers for fun,” said Matlakana. The ‘fun’ resulted in a 1-hectare farm filled with ripe green peppers. She bought more seeds from the income she accumulated and extended her farm by one more hectare.
“I then decided to put my Law Degree on hold to pursue farming full time. I registered my company and with the support of some Good Samaritans in my community, I managed to lease a bigger plot at a cheaper rate, and they also allowed me to use their farming equipment at no cost at all,” said Matlakana.
As the word spread about the dynamic young farmer, big brands started knocking on her door to offer assistance, this includes Basil Read who donated an irrigation system and a water pump. She has employed people from her local Ga-Kibi Village and hopes to open a training centre in the near future where she would be teaching the youth in her community about farming