Tenacity Magazine caught up with the 21-year-old Mahlatse Matlakana who began farming as a part-time job at the nearest farm in her area at a tender age of 15, and she never looked back since then.
Tenacity Magazine: Please kindly tell us more about yourself. Who is Mahlatse Matlakana?
Mahlatse Matlakana: The 21-year-old Mahlatse Matlakana was born and bred in Arrie (Ga-Moisimane village), Limpopo province. She began farming as a part-time job at the nearest farm in her area at a tender age of 15. She then started farming on her own at the age of 18.
Tenacity Magazine: What inspired you to be in farming (What drew you into farming)?
Mahlatse Matlakana: At first getting involved in farming was to help feed my family and that work gave me the passion to never stop and I felt like I belong in the farming fraternity. In a nutshell, after I matriculated I had to study law but then I decided to take a gap year, and I started planting by myself and that is how Wozilex(PTY)LTD was born.
Tenacity Magazine: You have an eight hectare green pepper farming project, where or who do sell the green peppers to? Please tell us more on that aspect.
Mahlatse Matlakana: My farm is in Limpopo the side of Tolwe, and so far, I am selling my goods to four (4) national wholesalers.
Tenacity Magazine: What are your aims and objectives as a farm entrepreneur?
Mahlatse Matlakana: As I know how bad poverty is, I want to alleviate poverty and improve the standards of living by starting a school for the disadvantaged, unemployed and getting more females to learn about planting green peppers so that they can also do it by themselves. I believe in that way it will help our beloved country to reduce the high unemployment rate.
Tenacity Magazine: What have you achieved ever since the inception of your own farm?
Mahlatse Matlakana: I have managed to employ 4 permanent employees, providing the nearest school and the needy with some vegetables, and I have achieved also to plant more green peppers and I still want to go commercially.
Tenacity Magazine: Are you planning to produce other yields except green peppers?
Mahlatse Matlakana: Absolutely yes, more green peppers and potatoes as the demand is high.
Tenacity Magazine: Do you get any funds to support your business as a farmer?
Mahlatse Matlakana: Yes, I did receive support from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) with fertilisers and irrigation systems.
Tenacity Magazine: How does it feel to be a young woman entrepreneur? Have you faced some challenges along the way?
Mahlatse Matlakana: I am very happy to be where I am today as young business woman, and yes, there are some challenges such as not having your own land and water.
Tenacity Magazine: How do people get in contact with you if they want your products?
Mahlatse Matlakana: I am planning on setting up a website, but for now they can simply Google me on the internet and my contact details are available there.
Tenacity Magazine: Any new and exciting things that you would like to share?
Mahlatse Matlakana: All the young farmers around South Africa I would like to say do not give up no matter what happens or how hard it is. I would also appreciate if I could get a land to plant more and grow as a farmer.