Masters degree crowns mission of refugee inspired by Zuma

2010-04-21 00:00

UNWAVERING determination and a passionate commitment to help the poor saw Moleka Mosisi graduating with a masters degree in agriculture from the University of KwaZulu-Natal recently.

Last year the Congolese refugee walked up to President Jacob Zuma and told him what he can offer South Africa in his field of study.

His bold gesture came at the African Union heads of state summit on agriculture and food security, held in Sirte, Libya, in July 2009. Mosisi attended the summit with other UKZN students and staffers.

“I went to where the presidents were and looked for my role model, Jacob Zuma, and introduced myself to him. We engaged in a long conversation about the role of UKZN’s African Centre for Food Security in improving food security and eradicating poverty in the country,” he told The Witness.

Mosisi came to South Africa as a refugee, escaping war crimes in his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, his own needs did not blind him to the levels of poverty he was exposed to when he first visited a friend at Maphephetheni, a village close to Durban, in 2004.

The experience persuaded him to start an organisation called the Voiceless Ser­vices, through which he planned to help the community fight poverty by encouraging farming.

So when he read about UKZN’s Farmers’ Support Group in a newspaper article, he contacted the university for assistance.

After meeting the head of the African Centre at UKZN, he enrolled for a degree in food security in the hope of achieving his dream of working with the community; this despite his background in information systems management.

Mosisi’s idea to help the Maphephetheni community prompted him to research poultry farming in that area for his master’s thesis. The research was commissioned by Eskom. He conducted a trial on 40 households to assess the feasibility of egg and broiler production and its potential for generating income.

The project was so successful, it was aired on an educational television programme Living Land.

Today Mosisi is a member of a team working in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, a New Partnership for Africa’s Development initiative.

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