Crush Chats to Ncumisa Mkabile, Khayelitsha’s
Ncumisa Mkabile, a 28 year old poultry and spinach farmer from Khayelitsha, has been turning heads both in the agricultural sector as well as in business since she started her own spinach and poultry farm in 2020. Being a woman in the agricultural sector is no mean feat. It’s a heavily male-dominated field and can be quite a boy’s club, particularly in South Africa. Crush Chats to Ncumisa to find out more about her drivers and what made her want to enter the agricultural sector to become Khayelitsha’s Spinach Queen.
A Lockdown Pivot
Born in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape, Ncumisa now lives in Khayelitsha. She holds a National Diploma in travel and Tourism and was running a takeaway restaurant selling african cuisine until March 2020. Like so many businesses, Ncumisa’s restaurant was seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With her only source of income cut off, Ncumisa had to make the difficult decision to abandon her restaurant and start farming chicken and spinach to supply to her local community in Khayelitsha.
Ncumisa started a small-scale farming project on un-used land in Khayelitsha. Her dream is to become a commercial farmer in South Africa and be a part of solving the problem of food security in the country.
My aim is to produce and supply fresh fruit and vegetables to businesses and companies all over South Africa while also creating job opportunities for the community.
It’s only been a year, but Ncumisa has made waves in her community and has garnered national and global attention. In 2020, Ncumisa won Sunlight’s More Than You Expect Heroes Initiative and received R200 000 to help with start-up costs for her business. The social media exposure and praise that she has received from this award has really helped boost her business and put her name on the map.
No More Boys’ Clubs
The agricultural sector is notoriously a male dominated field. Ncumisa says this is precisely what drew her to becoming a farmer. Her love for farming and the natural world was greater than her fears and self-doubt. She believes that male dominated fields need some disruption to prove to young women that there is no such thing as ‘male dominated’ sectors. With hard work, dedication and a strong support system, women can break patriarchal moulds.
We asked Ncumisa if she has any advice for young women wanting to start careers in agriculture …
Start small with what you have and gradually grow, do not wait on the government to fund you but give the government something to work with.
Follow Ncumisa on Instagram to keep up with her journey.
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