When Stanright Moabi of Taung in North West suffered a terrible injury on duty as a fertiliser spread machine guard which cost him his leg, it did not crush his spirit. Instead, farming remained a source of solace. Today, he manages a community garden to help feed school children, and he grows produce in the background.
Confidently, Moabi tells Food For Mzansi that the accident did not affect his brain. He believes that nothing can ever stop him from dreaming. However, the pain he experienced has changed his perspective on his potential and pushed him out of his comfort zone.
He had a difficult life growing up. His uncle David Moabi was the sole provider for a family of six children, as they had no parents in the picture.
“I would see my mother once a year in December while she worked in Johannesburg,” Moabi says.
He expresses that the workload was overwhelming for his uncle, so he was forced to drop out in grade 10 to help out. Despite facing challenges, he persevered in his efforts to secure employment and made the most of any opportunities that came his way.
Moabi held a variety of jobs, such as working as a security guard, working in construction, and as an assistant in a building warehouse, before he discovered his passion for farming.
A life-changing injury
Moabi was injured on duty at Castello Boerdery farming in Noth West in 2017. He explains that the fertiliser machine he was responsible for accidentally fell into a hole, while he was standing on an iron surface. One of his legs was chawed away by the machine, leaving him with only one leg.
He also fought to maintain balance in his life because so much changed quickly.
“Initially, the situation was uncomfortable. However, I have received the best support from my wife, who has been by my side since the very beginning and continues to support me to this day,” he says.
A few months later, Moabi received an artificial leg. At this point, he began searching for something to do and realised that living with a disability was making his life more complicated.
Taking matters into his own hands
The sight of an abandoned farming project sparked thoughts of farming in his mind.
“I had a conversation with the people responsible for overseeing the project. Once I received the authorisation to use it, I realised that this was my opportunity to learn how to be my own boss. I understood that if I were to fail, the responsibility would lie only with me. However, I am pleased to say that it worked out successfully.”
Moabi says when he proposed the community garden project, he made a commitment to supply some of the produce to Bokomoso Intermediate School as a way of giving back to the community.
“I couldn’t help but smile when I realised that I could use my own hands to provide food for our future leaders.”
The farmer mentor
Casper Botha, the owner of Castello Boerdery and Moabi’s former boss, saw his work and became his mentor. Botha suggested that Moabi attend school to learn more about farming. He completed a six-month course focused on mixed farming at Ekurhuleni Agricultural College in Benoni, Gauteng.
In October 2021, Moabi returned from college and resumed working on his project. Additionally, he decided to start a backyard garden at his home.
He cultivates a variety of crops, including onions, spinach, beetroot, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, and garlic. He explains that his target market consists of community members who are actively supporting his hustle.
“I have a backyard garden that I use to grow a variety of crops for sustenance. Some of the crops I grow include cucumber, watermelons, pumpkins, and spinach.”
From side hustles to big dreams
Moabi is eager to acquire a large piece of land. He explains that his primary objective is to increase the accessibility of farming knowledge for people and to eliminate the dependency between employers and people with disabilities.
“A disability becomes a significant issue when it is not being acknowledged. People with disabilities should have the opportunity to work just like any other people.”
He feels that not much has been done to accommodate them.
“The challenge of unemployment for people living with disabilities is similar to the challenge faced by people over the age of 35 who struggle to find employment due to their age. It is unfair,” he adds.
This farmer has big plans for his future, and he insists that nothing, not even a disability, would stop him from achieving them.
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