The excitement in the air was palpable as 30 women farmers and agripreneurs – known as #SoilSistas – gathered outside the GIBS Entrepreneurship Development Academy in Johannesburg for their orientation day. They were embarking on a year-long blended development programme by Corteva Agriscience, which will help them enhance their entrepreneurial, business, and leadership skills.
At first, they chatted among themselves, exchanging stories of their farms and agribusinesses and their challenges.
As they filed into the academy, they were greeted by Miranda Hosking and Barbra Muzata, who emphasised the critical role women play in agriculture and how this programme would help empower them to run and operate their farms sustainably. Hosking is the managing executive for social education at GIBS while Muzata is Corteva’s brand and communications lead for Africa and the Middle East.
#SoilSistas explore Joburg
The third #SoilSistas cohort was eager to learn and take in as much as they could, so they were thrilled when they learned that their orientation session would take the form of an Amazing Race through Jozi. After motivational talks by farmers Mary Mazibuko and Lebogang Mokwene, they set off with boundless energy, their first stop being the Workers’ Museum.
As they explored the city, the #SoilSistas took in the sights and sounds of the bustling markets, gathering insights from traders and learning from their experiences. They marvelled at the vibrancy of a local Muthu market and took a taxi from the busy Market Street to the Noord taxi rank, where they found a vendor and learned valuable lessons about trading.
After a long morning of exploration and learning, the #SoilSistas stopped for lunch at a Turkish restaurant in Mayfair. As they ate, they reflected on the lessons they had learned and the experiences they had gained.
Making a difference
Back at the academy, the women were tasked with writing a poem about their day. As they wrote, they reflected on the lessons they had learned and the new insights they had gained. They felt empowered and energised, knowing that they were part of a global movement to build a more inclusive agriculture and food system.
The #SoilSistas left the orientation session with a renewed sense of purpose, eager to take on the challenges ahead. They knew that the year-long development programme would be a challenging journey, but they were ready to embrace it and positively impact their communities.