For South Africans, Christmas is the time for summer fun, family, friends, and laughter. Most people get the chance to ease their tired minds and make beautiful memories. For farmers, however, that is often not the case.
Food for Mzansi knows that the festive season can be a time of hard work for the country’s producers, so we checked in with a few of our farmer friends to see how they will be spending their festive season this year.
For Disipi, a livestock farmer from the Northern Cape, festive cheer came a little early this year. He went on a farmer cruise at Hartbeespoort dam, networking with other farmers and learned more about his trade.
“Overall, [the cruise] was just to [celebrate] that we made it, and [offered] encouragement for 2022. [I learnt] about the importance of mentorship, and to assist others who like to farm but don’t know where to start to get some advice. [We talked] about the importance of networking and marketing, and about the improvement of our livestock genetics to meet markets expectations. It was a good experience, [getting] to meet other farmers from different places and sharing farming experiences from different environments. [I] am motivated to face 2022 with energy and to double my [farming] efforts.”
Moleko, a commercial rabbit farmer from Gauteng, is set to have an incredibly interesting festive season as she just launched a cookbook!
“RabbLicious CookBook was launched on 4 December in Soweto. The hard copy book will be available soon, and the book is all about the different ways one can cook rabbit meat. It also showcases our spices and sauces for rabbit meat. I will be holding book signings in January!”
Dr Vusi Khosa
For Khosa, who is both a farmer and a health practitioner, Christmas day will be spent saving lives.
“We know [Christmas is] made for families to rest and enjoy spending time together and sharing annual experiences. I would love to do the same but as a health practitioner, I will be on duty half of the day, saving the lives of the sick people and [attending to] those who will need medical attention. [I’ll only] with the family for the rest of the day, after work.”
A poultry farmer from Gauteng, Kalicharan is happy to spend her Christmas the traditional way. “We have no real plans for the holidays. Just a family lunch and spending time with the kids, relaxing a little before the hecticness of the new year starts.”
She is especially mindful of other farmers this year, and their role in providing the food over the festive season. “Please remember the farmer behind all the produce on your Christmas table this year,” she pleads.
Shibe, a livestock farmer in rural KwaZulu-Natal, says he will be continuing to farm over the festive season. “I have nothing planned. I’m all alone in the house [this year], with my wife and kids gone to visit my in-laws. [I’ll be] cooking, washing dishes, cleaning the house and looking after my animals.”
Based in the Western Cape, Booysen is looking forward to celebrating Christmas. “As a farmer, especially a smallholder tomato farmer, I am going to have a red tomato Christmas. I will be with friends and family on Christmas eve and Christmas day. We will celebrate by sharing food and fire, similar to many other families across South Africa.”
Swart, who farms grain in the Western Cape, has some exciting changes happening over the festive period. “We are very excited to move permanently to our farm in Villiersdorp. After a very hectic season with a lot of challenges, we are so looking forward to relaxing by the pool and spending time with our family. This year was tough because we had Covid-19, so after that we just want to spend time with our family. And as a family, we are spoiling our farm workers’ kids with presents and sweet packets.”
This crop farmer from Limpopo will be hard at work, feeding the nation. “We are going to be working these holidays. As a farmer, I don’t work until time is up, but until the job is done; so there are no weekends or holidays [for us], especially in the summer season. We have to work hard to feed the nation.”
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