People need to grow their own food - eManqakatha villager

2016-08-01 16:05

Eshowe – Agatha Nxumalo basks in the sun with her three children on a small mound in  eManqakatha village on Sunday morning, as she watches one of them plant sweet potato.

Surrounded by northern KwaZulu-Natal’s picturesque hills, Nxumalo and her sons Anele, 7, Vukani, 6, her teenage daughter who asked not to be named, and their two dogs, Nqesta and Mpisi, were enjoying time together on their plot of farmland near their home. 

"You see, life here in the rural areas is much simpler than the big cities. Now that life is more expensive, we just stick to what we have been taught to do over the years, and that is to grow our own food," said Nxumalo.

Her village is a few kilometres from Gingindlovu, near Eshowe.

The 44-year-old unemployed woman said her family grew sweet potato, mielies, Zulu dumplings (amadumbe), and sugar cane.

“This is how we get by. We sell some and we leave some for the family, and we never run out of money.”

During the week, when her children go to school, she leaves for the fields to go and plant vegetables around 07:30.

"People need to go back to growing their own food. It is the only way to get by," she said.

When she is not tending to her vegetables, she cuts sugarcane which is sold to Tongaat Hulett Sugar.

Her husband, a former policeman, is also unemployed.

'We need real jobs'

“We need real jobs in the area. The only jobs available here are cleaning roads and cutting the grass - those are not real jobs.”

She said her family had electricity, but no piped water, although there were taps.

She said the ward 1 councillor only helped when there were deaths in the community. There was little crime in the area, which she believed was because it was a rural area.

Nxumalo said she would not vote on Wednesday. She never registered because she was sick on the day she had meant to go.

“I sent someone to register on my behalf, but they told us that we could not do that. It was not allowed.”

She could not say which party she supported and refused to be photographed because she feared for her husband’s life.