Students seeking to inspire in South Africa
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CTA. 2002. Students seeking to inspire in South Africa. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/1. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57344
Two students from the University of the North in South Africa, describe their participation in projects, through which they are supporting rural development in their home areas, and improving their own farming practices. One of the students describes her work with women who are prevented from working together by their fears of witchcraft.
Students seeking to inspire in South Africa CUE: Our next report comes from the University of the North, in Pietersburg, South Africa. Lesibana Mantshiu spoke to some of the students there, about the problems facing young people who live in rural areas. Many of the students are involved in projects to improve the opportunities for rural people. We hear now from two of them, Grace Angel Mhlodi and Michael Mokwala, both students of agriculture, who have taken on the role of inspiring and teaching their fellow villagers about improved farming methods. The first interview is with Grace Angel; Lesibana asked her why she decided to study agriculture at university in the first place. IN: ?I was born and bred ? OUT: ? more especially in our economy. DUR?N 5?00? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Michael Mokwala suggesting that local workshops could help more rural youth to profit from agriculture. Transcript Angel I was born and bred in a township surrounded all over by rural areas, and almost everyday children from the rural areas come to the township to sell maize and even ? morokho?- I don?t know how to call it in English, but sort of vegetables. So I decided that maybe it would be better for me to acquire more skills in agriculture so that I can come back and implement at home, thereby improving or developing the rural community, in particular. Mantshiu What projects have you been involved in so far? Angel I was involved in projects mostly when I was a registered student already, always during holidays, we were at times urged to go to government places around our areas and look around any kind of agricultural project, and then you volunteer as a worker, thereby trying to gain information. At times we were working with extension officers, whereby you would find mostly women, most of them are single parents who didn?t have jobs, and didn?t even have husbands to work for them, so they had to depend on ploughing, and all those kind of things, and then make an income or a living out of the money produced from those vegetables. Mantshiu If we talk presently what projects are you directly involved in? Angel Presently I?m involved in a project conducting research on witchcraft. While working in the field, most women cannot work together, because they are pointing fingers at each other ?I cannot work with so-and-so. It?s a witch?, and they are not aware of contributing to their own poverty, because if they avoid each other you find that for a project to be sponsored, at least there should be a minimum of ten women, only to find that you will find two or one. And some are complaining about their plants not growing well because they?ve been bewitched, and all those kind of things. So now this project is helping me with how to handle such conditions, because while interviewing these people, they are somehow counselled. They become aware of the dangers they are causing among themselves. Mantshiu Now lastly, Angel, what are your comments on the involvement of the youth, especially ladies, in agriculture? Angel Most of our young ladies in particular, are having a problem of teenage pregnancies. From there they stop going to school, the parents can no longer afford to send them to school, while at the same time feeding their own children. So I think if some of us youth who have been trained, and have the necessary skills in agriculture, go implement these projects at home, and then put on or employ the youth around there, try to develop them. Maybe to encourage more and more of them to participate, you just have to perform and let everybody follow what you are doing, and not just point. Because if you point, these adults in most cases are not encouraged, are not motivated to work on their own, but if you are there with them, they learn from us and then they get motivated and work together. Mokwala I became so interested in agriculture in the sense that, my grandfather was having so many cattle, but due to the fact of lack of education, some of them died due to the dryness of the places they were grazing. Mantshiu Now since then have you ever been involved in an agricultural project, that taught you how to deal with cattle, sheep, grazing or anything of that type? Mokwala There is a new project, which has been established in my village, and I hope from that project I?ll learn so many things. Mantshiu What is the actual aim of the project? Mokwala The actual aim is poultry. We are dealing with chickens, whereby we will be selling the chickens if they are big enough for us to sell them, outside our village, in order to gain an income, and also to extend that particular project for us to ask the youth to get employed in our project, which we have established at this present moment. Mantshiu Now what are your comments about the involvement of the youth in agriculture, especially around your area? Mokwala The youth in my area, are so interested in our project, but not all of them, as some they take agriculture as a very dirty job, whereby you have to look after chickens, sheep, cattle, they don?t have interest, but at least part of them they are having interest in that project. Mantshiu Now what do you think can be done, Michael, so as to attract these youth into agriculture? Mokwala I think that by conducting some workshops in our area, the youth might become interested in agriculture, as they will be seeing the importance of agriculture in general. It plays a very important role, more especially in our economy. End of tape.