MEET THE TEAM

IVOR PRICE is a multi-award-winning journalist. His accolades include three ATKV Mediaveertjie Awards as the nation’s Best Columnist (2017) and Best Presenter of a Radio Current Affairs Show (2016 and 2017). The former SABC2 News Anchor also presented Landbouweekliks, a popular VIA television show (DSTV channel 147), in which he traveled more than 100 000km to interview the movers and shakers of Mzansi’s agricultural industry. Other career highlights include a stint as a London based foreign correspondent.

KOBUS LOUWRENS is Strategy Director of YehBaby, a digital marketing agency. He is an award-winning environmental journalist, who previously published leading magazines and community newspapers in both South Africa and East Africa. This MBA graduate developed digital strategies for various small-to-medium enterprises and entrepreneurs. Under Kobus’s visionary leadership YehBaby has developed breakthrough digital marketing for numerous agricultural, wine and tourism brands.

DAWN NOEMDOE is a journalist and content producer who cut her teeth in community radio. She brings a natural curiosity instinctively dedicated to truth telling. Persistent and nurturing a strong sense of commitment, Dawn’s heart for equality drives her work, also as Food For Mzansi’s Project Editor. Private life? “Well, it is a competition between partner, son and our furry caretakers Mifty and Billy.”

Chicken or beef? Chicken. Deep fried. Baked. Braaied. All day. Every day. Depending on how scrumptious it’s prepared. you’ll find me nibbling on the bones too. Ssshhh…

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… I’d pay tribute to my late grandfather, Christie Naik, who was a farmer in his own right. Growing up he always maintained a vegetable garden. He produced tons of green beans, cucumbers, butternut, squash and not forgetting the pigs and chickens. I’d love to make him proud by running my own successful farm one day. “Ons Dala, No more Dreaming”.

DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.

Chicken or beef? Chicken! I hate chewing tough meats – my teeth are way too brittle for that. Maybe if its tender, then yes.

If I could be a farmer one day, I’ll farm solely for the purpose of alleviating hunger in rural areas and informal settlements. Despite South Africa being considered a food secure country there are still thousands of people, sometimes even our neighbours, who go to bed hungry at night.

NOLUTHANDO NGCAKANI – With roots in the Northern Cape, this Kimberley Diamond has had a passion for telling human interest stories since she could speak her first words. A foodie by heart, she began her journalistic career as an intern at the SABC where she discovered her love for telling agricultural, community and nature related stories. Not a stranger to a challenge Ngcakani will go above and beyond to tell your truth.

Chicken or beef? Is that a trick question? I’m Xhosa and a love for all varieties of meat is embedded within our DNA. So…BOTH.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… I’d be honoured. Farmers are the pillars of our communities and we do not appreciate their worth enough. I didn’t really have a generic perception of what a farmer looks like but growing up it was a tradition for my family to visit the garden patch of a black farmer in my community named ‘Oom Appels’. His farm was filled with gigantic cabbage patches and his famous apples. So when I think of the concept of a farmer, I think of him and I am reminded that there is sense of diversity of what and who a farmer/boer looks like.

CHANTÉLLE HARTEBEEST is a young journalist who has a fiery passion for storytelling. She is eager to be the voice of the voiceless and has worked in both radio and print media before joining Food For Mzansi. Besides telling other people’s stories, she secretly tells her own through poetry.

Chicken or beef? If I have to choose, it will definitely be chicken. As the bearer of many dreams I need wings in order to soar.

When I was a child I thought farmers were… all white people, until I watched the Afrikaans TV news with my father, Colin Hartebeest, one Sunday evening. I was confused and couldn’t understand why the reporter called a black person a “boer”. My father had to explain, and from then on I knew that farming was and is not restricted to one specific racial group, but that everyone could farm.

MELISSA JAVAN is a freelance writer with nine years’ experience in the media industry. She studied journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and previously worked at leading news publications as well as for Brand South Africa. She enjoys blogging and taking part in Twitter chats.

Chicken or beef? Chicken, as long as I don’t have to run after it to eat it.

Growing up my idea of a farmer was… Someone far away. A farmer’s job sounded like an impossible job for city people like myself. Now I know that if you are passionate about a job, no matter how impossible it may look, you can make it work.

ELANA VAN DER WATT is a freelance reporter with extensive experience in community journalism. She started her career as intern at the Worcester Standard and moved through the ranks to the editor’s position and digital editor of the Boland Media group. She has since gone solo.

Chicken or beef? Chicken every time, except when the beef option is fillet.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… I would probably say “wow” a million times. I marvel at everything from how a tiny seed begins to sprout, to the sheer scale of agricultural production. And since women in business have changed the world for the better, I would invest in getting more women into influential positions in agriculture.

HEINRICH BOTHMAN is a certified Cape Sommelier, wine evaluator and judge. He has a decade’s experience in the wine industry. Heinrich studied Business of Wine at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Cape Town and also obtained his international judging qualification from Stellenbosch University. Heinrich grew up in the Robertson Wine Valley and works as a public relations officer for a leading wine cellar.

Chicken or beef? I’m proud to still use “the seven colour chicken brand”.

When I was a child I thought farmers were… For whites only, to be honest, until the day I got home from school with a bean. After it germinated I planted it in good compost soil which I made myself. I then understood the role of farmers as compared to a specific colour or demographic. Today, I want to farm and create jobs in Robertson. Who knows, I might even start my own black-owned winery – a first in my region.

CANDICE PEARCE is a young writer in a candy store. She is finally exploring her sweet tooth for all things media and believes that the world’s mysteries are just waiting to be revealed. Holding a Nelson Mandela University qualification in media, communications and culture she observes, analyzes and writes. 

Chicken or beef? Beef. I tried having the chicken, but it already crossed the road. 

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… I would be the most stylish farmer, rocking up in my overalls and boots, ready to show this “comfortable” generation that you could be anyone that you desire to be, if you put in the work.

LINDSAY JEFTHAS resides in Beijing, China where he works as a mathematics teacher. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education and has also previously taught at a school in the Western Cape. Lindsay has been writing since his high school days, and his work has since been published in a leading magazine. These days he mostly writes poems and short stories. He is passionate about economics, both in South Africa and globally.

Chicken or beef? Beef, definitely. I’ve always loved meat. Whether it’s braaivleis or a medium-well steak! I prefer beef, mainly for the amount of protein it contains, since I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… The thought of me in a traditional farmer’s attire is hilarious! I’d be overwhelmed responsibility of feeding a nation. I’d honour my hardworking agri-workers and give them the recognition they deserve, because not everyone can work as hard as these often humble individuals.

IVOR SWARTZ is a pastor by day, and a beer evangelist by night. You will find him screaming the loudest at music festivals around the country. Oh, and he loves a good pulled pork burger on any given day. Ivor frequently writes about beer, food and faith on various social media platforms.

Chicken or beef? Is that even a question? Of course beef. Aint nobody got time for a chicken who can’t figure out why she crossed the road. 

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… I would be a most terrible farmer, but I would want to drive a tractor for that whole day though.

ANDREA DU PLESSIS is a well-known registered dietician with a passion for healthcare through nutrition, natural remedies and a healthy lifestyle. She regularly presents talks and educational workshops on nutrition throughout the country. Du Plessis is also known as the resident health and nutrition expert on SABC3’s Expresso breakfast TV show.

Chicken or beef? I would still ask, are there any lentils? I am not a vegetarian, but I love lentils and beans – not just for the health benefits and nutritional value, but even more for the versatility in cooking and its affordability. Lentils add such a nice texture and flavour to salads, soups, stews and meat sauces. You can sprout them in your own kitchen for some extra crunch and flavour in your salads, or make the most delicious dips and spreads.  

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… I would find it very exciting to learn as much as possible about the best way to grow the most nutritious vegetables, making the smallest impact on the environment. How do you get the best fresh produce, using the smallest quantity of water, make use of natural fertilizers and pesticides? What are the best natural ways of replenishing your soil with nutrients to maintain the highest nutritional content in your plant foods?

TIRELO MABETOA is a freelance writer, illustrator and home baker. An avid admirer of words, he was afflicted early in life by “restless-pen syndrome” and is constantly creating in whatever medium is available to him. He’s also done illustrations for Food For Mzansi.

Chicken or beef? Chicken is more versatile, so definitely chicken.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… When I was a child I thought farmers were strictly male and very burly, always bearded and rugged. As someone who has been suffering from food insecurity for over a year now, I’d definitely look at helping out people in my community learn how to grow food for themselves.

IMMACULATE ZINDE is a marketer extraordinaire with over 16 years’ experience in classical marketing, strategy conceptualisation and execution, branding and communication. She is passionate about giving birth to revolutionary and radical creative concepts, but she’s more passionate about seeing those concepts prosper and reap rewards.

Chicken or beef? The stingy supply of fried chicken at black funerals has created the perception that chicken is better than all other meats. Hahahahahahhaaaa! Chicken it is.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… I’d write a book on the art of patience. If I could master to be as patient as a farmer, my life would be total bliss!

SIYABONGA MNGOMA is the owner of Abundance Wholesome Foods, selling organic fresh produce to people looking for convenient ways to make their lives healthier. She is passionate about global food systems and promoting organically grown foods, as she believes that lifestyle diseases can be tackled through diet. As a by-product of her learnings, she launched a blog to further spread the word and hopefully change lives for the better. Her blog features well-researched, expert content on how to create a healthier lifestyle. You can follow her @abundance_wf on Instagram and Twitter.

CHRIS MARAIS has been in the South African media world since the rough-and-tumble era of 1976, but for the past 12 years he has been a Karoo boy.

Writer, photographer, teacher, indie publisher and general Big Sky gypsy, Chris works with his wife and partner, Julienne du Toit, in their multi-faceted Karoo Space enterprise.

Chicken or beef? Out here, chicken is a vegetable. Beef is tasty, but Karoo Lamb is the main deal.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day… A good and successful farmer is like a rock star in my neighbourhood. A lot of competency, strength of character and good fortune is required to make a farm work in SA.

JULIENNE DU TOIT is a freelance writer specialising in travel, environmental issues and lifestyle. She has worked on newspapers, edited her own environmental magazine and now lives in Cradock (Eastern Cape Karoo) writing features and books on the Karoo and life in the platteland with her husband Chris Marais. If you see a journo frantically scribbling down notes at an anti-fracking meeting, it’s likely to be her.

Chicken or Beef? Those are fighting words in the Karoo, where sheep outnumber humans 7 to 1. If not Karoo lamb, then freerange chicken, preferably sourced from a farmer’s wife in the district. 

If I could be a farmer for a day…  I would sign up to be an apprentice first. Since planting veggies in our small back yard, I have learnt a whole new respect for farmers and some of the issues they face. 

MAGNIFICENT MNDEBELE has fallen in love with agriculture whilst crisscrossing the country to interview many of the farmers and agripreneurs featured on Food For Mzansi. He writes about social issues for New Frame too, and his work has appeared in many other outlets, including TimesLive, Mail & Guardian, The Journalist, Daily Maverick, The Citizen, Groundup and Cape Argus, to mention just a few. Just like agriculturists who are passionate about slow-food farming, he is passionate about slow-journalism which seeks to ensure that issues are meticulously uncovered and carefully narrated with a holistic approach.

Chicken or beef? Well, In South Africa chicken is considered as a salad, therefore I would go for beef.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day…I would surely use the land for the most intimate, spiritual reasons for communicating with my ancestors like Dineo Boshomane. “When I grew older, I began to understand what it means to be a healer. But I had to accept that I am black, and I cannot change myself. Now I understand the power plants have… Like my ancestors, I thrive in nature. This is my healing space.”

FUNIWE NGWENYA is a female photographer who values visual storytelling. She studied BA Film and Television at University of Johannesburg. She is currently a fulltime photographer and documentary maker. She fell in love with agriculture when she joined the Slow Food movement. Her work has appeared at the University of Gastronomic Science and the campaign Total Shutdown. Funiwe believes the world wouldn’t exist if it was not visual and every photograph is a certificate of presence.

Chicken or Beef? Beef! It’s Solid.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day…I’d sure be a livestock farmer. First thing I’d feed the chickens and chase them around, just for the fun. I’d never miss the opportunity of milking a cow, that would be the major goal of the day. Not forgetting taking selfies and pictures with the livestock, just for the Instagram life . If I were a farmer for a day, I’d take my camera with me to the farm and document everything.

DANÉ VERMEULEN is a food enthusiast with a strong belief in using fresh produce when cooking. She combines her love for food and photography to share her passions with the world. Her thirst for knowledge keeps her on the top of her game and ready to jump into any conversation, no matter the topic. She has a BSc degree in Biodiversity and Ecology from the University of Stellenbosch. She works for YehBaby, Food For Mzansi’s tip-top digital partner.

Chicken or Beef? Chicken, beef, pork, lamb…I eat everything, because favouring one over the other might result in me missing out on the beauty and flavour each has to offer.

So, imagine you could be a farmer for a day…I would do whatever needs to be done for that day and try my best to do right by my family, friends, and workers and pray to God that I am able to fill the enormous shoes of a farmer, because after all I am only a size 5.

LYNDON METEMBO was raised in Willowmore in the Eastern Cape before moving to Cape Town to complete his Bachelors in Social Science majoring in Sociology and Psychology at UCT. A chance encounter assisting in painting a creché in Browns Farm Phillipi led him to working with H.O.P.E. Africa (The Social Development arm of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa). He later ended up in agriculture by becoming a Ethical Trade Auditor for and independent firm that conducted audits for major commercial buyers in Europe. Even though it was not love at first sight, it was obvious to him that agriculture offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and if done right to create employment.

Want to help us change the narrative about agriculture?

– Editorial suggestions: editor@foodformzansi.co.za
– Ivor Price, co-founder of Food For Mzansi: ivor@foodformzansi.co.za
– Kobus Louwrens, co-founder of Food For Mzansi: kobus@foodformzansi.co.za