Voting lines for the 2021 Eastern Cape Youth Awards (ECYAs), in which three farmers are participating, are set to close on Friday, 18 June. Nezisa Sogoni, Siphesihle Kwetana and Nkosinathi Makamela were nominated in the agriculture category.
The ECYAs annually recognise, celebrate and advance youth excellence in the province. Organiser Anda Ncobo tells Food For Mzansi the agriculture category is particularly noteworthy because it is the only one with nominees aged 30 and younger. In most of the other categories, nominees are aged 31 to 35.
Sogoni from Butterworth, Kwetana from Mthatha and Makamela from Dutywa also give back to their respective communities through employment, in-service training and internships, Ncobo notes.
Winners will be announced on Saturday, 26 June 2021.
The 28-year-old Sogoni is called “Babes wenkhuku” (chicken babe) by her customers in Butterworth.
“To have your work recognised and celebrated in the whole of Eastern Cape is quite exceptional. It’s an acknowledgement of my wonderful work. The nomination alone makes feels like a winner,” she says.
Sogoni describes herself as an advocate for youth and community development.
“When I started farming, I barely had anything, but started regardless and I’ve gotten this far. This award would not only be for me but also for my community who have worked tirelessly to help make my dream a reality. I’m a product of starting small and growing gradually.”
This vegetable farmer has already won a number of awards for her outstanding work in farming.
The 26-year-old believes, “It’s not about getting an award, but for the fact that I am nominated, I am winner. Okay, but if I’m honest, I do want the award.”
Kwetana did not know she was nominated. “Whether I win or not, I will always strive to inspire the youth in my community, especially young woman from disadvantaged backgrounds, just like me.”
At 21, Nkosinathi Makamela (21) is this year’s youngest farmer nominee.
“There are a lot of farmers in the Eastern Cape, but it happened that I am among the top three. That makes me very happy. The other nominees are older than me, so that encourages me to push even harder. It gives me hope that I could win a national award seeing that I made it to the top three,” he says.
The vegetable and livestock farmer, who started farming in 2019, believes winning in the Eastern Cape Youth Awards would ultimately lead to funding opportunities.
How to vote
- Nezisa Sogoni: SMS ECYA01 to 34270
- Nkosinathi Makamela: SMS ECYA02 to 34270
- Siphesihle Kwetana: SMS ECYA03 to 34270