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The Success of “Mam Vi”

Violet “Mam Vi” Mabaso is an entrepreneur in Alexandra Township in Gauteng, who is an integral part of the Molobanyane Co-operative. The co-op was started 5 years ago and she has been the secretary since 2012. While part of the co-op from inception, Mam Vi took an active role from 2014 in the garden and the turnaround has been visibly evident. Coming from a background in farming, she has many years of experience from the traditional methods of her parents and grandparents. She has become the life force of the garden and has been on site every day since. With the assistance of FTFA and various government departments, she has learned new skills to add to her vast inherited knowledge. Her learned profession is interior designing, yet her passion has become her vegetable and herb garden.

Being entrepreneurially minded Mam Vi’s objective at the garden was to develop a steady income stream. Her fundamental principle of “hard work pays off” has proved to be true for her, and the other full-time farm workers of the Co-op. Her best-selling products are the herbs which she sells for traditional medicinal purposes, and the pickles, which she processes and packages on site. The pickling venture began after having gone on a six-month course with the Department of Social Development on value added products.

Mam Vi and the team have created a steady income stream through pickling and drying vegetables and herbs for sale. The fresh vegetables from the garden are also good sellers, and the garden itself sees 60-80 customers a week. The Molobanyane Co-op has turned a small piece of land into a steady monthly income for these ladies support their families and enjoy their days, knowing that at the end of the month they are earning salaries and don’t need to worry about their next meal.

As Mam Vi says “You will never go hungry if you are willing to work hard”.

Her dream is to see the youth get involved in agriculture and learn the true value of hard work.

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