The youth wing of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA) recently elected a new chairperson to spearhead their organisation.
Livestock farmer Keatlegile Mnguni (24) will now be at the forefront of connecting Mzansi’s young farmers with markets and information as well as linkages to leaders and stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
The new chair says she signed up as an AFASA Youth member a year ago and the appointment came as a huge shock to her.
“The nomination alone was an honor. And to have people trust and believe that I’m capable of being a leader means a lot to me. The responsibility of being part of a team that assists and develops other farmers is something I don’t take lightly, she adds.
Mnguni has dedicated her entire life to working on her family’s farm, Trigaardspoort in Gauteng. Together with her father, George Mnguni, she farms with cattle and sheep.
Since graduating from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in 2017 where she studied food and beverage management, Mnguni has completed multiple courses in beef production, animal production, disease management and general agricultural management.
The young farmer is also sourcing funding for an agribusiness she’s recently registered and she owns a catering business called Nouri catering and décor.
Commenting on her position Mnguni says she plans to be impactful in leading the youth-led organisation that supports and promotes the development of South African youth participation in the agricultural sector.
“I’d also like to see youth in agriculture exposed to the entire value chain and more mentorship programs being made available.”
Beyond this, AFASA Youth has also been at the centre of influencing policy development processes for the benefit of young, black South African farmers and agripreneurs.
Mnguni succeeds former AFASA Youth Chairperson, Nono Sekhoto-Iga who nominated Mnguni. Sekhoto-Iga says she is confident that her successor will take AFASA Youth to the next level and wishes her an exciting and empowering journey.
“Mnguni needs to remember that she’s been placed in an impactful position. It’s up to her to make a success out of it. My advice to her is to make sure she collaborates with the right partners, for both her career and the many young farmers across the country,” Sekhoto-Iga says.
President of AFASA, Dr Vuyo Mahlati, welcomed the appointment of Mnguni to the role. “It’s absolutely great to have a young mind and fresh perspective on the team that can assist the organisation in seeking out new ways of ensuring that we address land issues for the benefit of farmers.” She also emphasized the role of the youth wing chairperson in ensuring that the commercialisation agenda has youth at the centre.
Mnguni says that she looks forward to the capacity building of farmers which will strengthen their skills and uplift them as young farmers and agripreneurs.
“I’d also like to see youth in agriculture exposed to the entire value chain and more mentorship programs being made available. It’s also time for youth in agriculture to achieve local and international exposure.”