For 25-year-old farmer Regomoditswe Teke, passing the knowledge of farming onto the next generation is of the utmost importance.
The vegetable farmer is passionate about youth development and has grown her business, based in Rustenburg in North West, from subsistence to commercial level. Teke’s produce has gone on to benefit various families and schools in her community, and she also supplies a local lodge.
“My biggest dream is to see more young people partaking and growing [in] eagerness to learn about farming,” she says. “Not only to impress the world but [also by] pouring their whole being [into farming] and developing our country’s shaking economy through agriculture.”
Through her “School your peer, let’s farm together” project, Teke hosts garden festivals at local schools. Many schools in her area have soup kitchens or feeding schemes. She uses these schemes to teach learners about the importance of farming.
“[We] eventually cook the very products produced by the learners for the feeding scheme. I want the learners to learn more about agricultural spaces and to make it practical! [They] learn how a single seed can later become food.”
Farming is not the only hat worn by Teke. She is a full-time student, doing her final year in communication sciences at the University of South Africa and runs an online eatery through her Instagram account, where she has close to 2000 followers. She also curates food-related content online, sharing recipes on her blog.
“You can’t grow food and not speak with your food. I am expressing my love for food through my eatery and [through] creating food content daily.”
Journey into farming
Teke had always has a passion for farming. At the age of 13 she started gardening in her backyard, growing spinach and herbs for fun. Since then, she has established the Moalogane Green Crops project and is growing spinach, beetroot, pumpkins and a variety of herbs.
“I am utilising a family member’s space since it’s spacious and wide enough for me to plant various products.”
Established in 2017, Moalogane Green Crops is a family farm, and when Teke started it, her aim was to enrich her community.
“The [establishing] of it was to benefit and empower communities. The journey has been fulfilling and [getting] support from the family has been one of the strength mechanisms that kept me going”.
Her journey has not been without glitches, however. As a full-time student, Teke often does not have time to care for the garden herself. There are times when she hires outside help, but she finds that those she hires have already judged her as incompetent.
“People don’t really take you seriously because you’re young and female. Your orders aren’t always taken seriously,” she says.
Like in many parts of the country, Moalogane is beset by poverty. This is another challenge Teke faces, as she operates at a loss when people are unable to afford her product. “In as much as I love giving back to the community, it’s not always easy working without profit or gain.”
Teke however is positive about the future and hopes to see her eatery expand into one of the biggest food spaces in South Africa. At the moment, her eatery is based online, where she makes meals to order. Her mission is to create employment and impact lives in a positive way.
“I would love to form partnerships and grow as an individual. This will also empower more young people in my footsteps, especially women, [and let them know] that it’s doable.”