In South Africa, high levels of unemployment and a weakened economy has given rise to a growing informal sector and a connected increase in unacceptable working conditions and exploitation. Youth unemployment levels remain of great concern and that of gender equality in the Limpopo region. The high unemployment rate coupled with that of poor service delivery in the villages see many young people struggling to survive and lack motivation and there is a huge sense of hopelessness.Even though the conditions seem agonizing, five young people in Damani, Limpopo still have hope and dreams.
In the village of Damani, five young optimists that are also peanut farmers are not dispirited by the conditions they have in their village but saw an opportunity to become something.
The five youth started a peanut farm so that they can help both the village and their families.
The chief of the village donated a portion of his land to the ambitious five so that they can farm. The village was experiencing shortage of clean accessible water and that was a huge concern for the young farmers and their crops. Through the support of Xihlobo Xandivo a partner of Action Aid in the Limpopo Province the young farmers were provided with seeds and a tank of clean accessible water, the farmers had hope for their crops. The villagers also benefit from this water tank as they experience shortages of water in the community. The challenge has been getting sufficient water to water the plants because the tank is currently not enough to meet the demand of both community and the farmers. Nonetheless, the young farmers did not want to give up on their crops because they knew their importance. The farmers then decided to take turns watering their crops late at night so that villagers can use the tank during the day.
Even during a hot day in Limpopo and you could feel the unforgiving heat on your skin, the young farmers do not have a difficult time with being in the field with no caps or sun protective wear. Ploughing and removing weeds on their farm this is their everyday work.
Matangwa Avhavhudzane, 20 years old, is a young mother that is very passionate about farming and is one of the five peanut farmers. Prior the project, Lady another member of team lost her mother two years back and had to move to the Damani village to stay with her father who works piece jobs to feed the family. Her father could not fully support the family with the money he made. Lady would feel drained from the issues that they were facing at home. ‘I used to be quiet and isolated because there was nothing, I could do with the situation we faced at home, but the garden project helped me help my family and myself. It helped me come together with other youth and share experiences.’ Said Lady. She went on to add that if you take care of the land, the land would also take care of you.
The young farmers are very appreciative for the seeds and the tank from the Xohlobo Xandivo and ActionAid for the work that helped them change their lives, the lives of the villagers and their families. They are very grateful for the opportunity to go on training workshops in agrology as they learnt how to take care of their crops properly. The farmers sell their peanuts to the community through door to door and the money they make they save to expand their farm and create more jobs in the village. They also plant tomatoes and sell to villagers.