ALUMNI STUDENT PROFILE: Mzothule Ndokweni
A few years ago we had the pleasure of meeting Mzothule, when he was introduced to our Biodynamic Agricultural Training. It has been so rewarding to watch this passionate young S. African (biodynamic) farmer reach for his dreams. We recently caught up with him for a quick chat.
Born in Scottburth, KwaZuluNatal, in South Africa, on 28 July 1994, Mzothule Ndokweni’s interest in agriculture has its origins in his childhood when he went to live with his granny. Here, working alongside her he would take his first tentative steps in agriculture and in 2008, when she was no longer able to garden herself due to illness, she would give clear instructions to Mzothule from her seat in the garden.
Years later, when he was 22 years old, a longtime friend, Mondli, invited Mzothule to join him at a farm in Swellendam called Jakkalskloof. This is where he learned of and enrolled in our Diploma in Biodynamic agriculture. This land-based training initially created questions for Mzothule mainly centered around its relevance to African communities and if ecological training would work in South Africa. In subsequent discussions with families from rural communities he realized that many of the practices he was learning, were in fact deeply embedded in traditional farming, but that his generation has forgotten these insights.
During the course of the training programme, he visited a wide variety of farms and on one particular trip to Spier Farm he expressed his interest in pigs. This lead to a unique opportunity at Spier where he had the privilege of practically assisting the farmer initiate a business and upscale not only from a few pigs but also how to manage this bourgeoning enterprise from a financial aspect.
Recognising a growing spark of enthusiasm to run his own farm he joyfully recounts that “my entrepreneurial drive is a passion to be a part of something small and enjoy the experience of it getting bigger”. After 4 years of work experience on Spier Farm he ventured off to create his own enterprise. Attending the international BD conference in Switzerland he realised he could play a role in expanding biodynamics in S Africa. A year of searching for a suitable farm lead Mzothule to a farm outside Pretoria. With a team of friends, they lease the land and Mzothule has set up farm practices that includes vegetables and egg production as the main income.