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
"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.
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
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
When she is not
tending to her vegetables, she cuts sugarcane which is sold to Tongaat Hulett
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
She could not say
which party she supported and refused to be photographed because she feared for
her husband’s life.