不到10年前，Lengau Mothiane不得不依靠电梯将他在拍卖会上买的10只羊运回100多公里外的家庭农场。他现在饲养了150只南非肉羊美利奴羊和大约70头Bonsmara Brahman牛。
The 35-year-old agripreneur also owns his own business and is providing contract work to at least 25 previously unemployed people.
Born into farming
Mothiane is a third-generation farmer, born and raised in QwaQwa in the Free State.
“I never lived in a township; I grew up knowing farming,” he says.
His father, Albert, used to grow vegetables at sites located at clinics and old-age homes in the QwaQwa region; this was also where Mothiane completed his primary and secondary schooling.
Around 2012, the family moved to their own 445ha farm in the Heilbron district. It was immediately apparent, however, that this was a different type of farm to what they were used to.
In 2013, the family entrusted him with his sister’s lobola, which was to be used to fund her wedding in six months’ time.
He made his way to an auction at Frankfort where he spent half of the money on a flock of 10 Van Rooy ewes.
“I didn’t have any transport, of course, but I had to get them back to the farm. So I lined them up and started to drive them. I was a herder; I knew how to drive sheep.”
“He told me to wait there and later on organised for someone to help by transporting the sheep home.”
“I could also provide all the sheep we needed to slaughter for the wedding,” he says.
One step at a time
Despite his entrepreneurial spirit and appetite for risk, Mothiane certainly didn’t find his
The family had meanwhile begun the shift to cattle farming with a herd of about 45 mixed-breed cattle of fairly poor quality.
“Then one day, my father went to a farmer’s day at Sernick,” recalls Mothiane. “And it was here that we first met Patrick Sekwatlakwatla.”
The Sernick programme also afforded him a valuable opportunity to share in the experiences of farmers elsewhere in Africa through a partnership with a UN initiative on sustainable development. In 2018/2019, he went on a trip to Burkina Faso that changed his attitude completely.
“I’d thought South Africa was one of the poorest places until I arrived in Burkina Faso. Where we use a tractor, they use hoes.
Apart from attending courses and gaining knowledge at Sernick, Mothiane also used the opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
This experience, along with the good name he had built up for himself, proved crucial when he established his business, Horizon Southern Group, which was registered in 2019.
“I was almost like a private extension officer who could fill the gap between the farmer and the service provider,” he says.
In addition, he used the experience he had gained through years of practical, hands-on assistance to expand into infrastructure work such as fencing and windmill repairs.
“I’d helped repair windmills for many years and could see what people were doing. I could also see how to do a better job. It was windmill work that bought me my first car,” he recalls.
“They nurtured me from class to field, and now [I feel as if] I’m part of the backbone of the company,” he says proudly.
“These were all guys who didn’t have jobs, who needed a chance,” he says.
The lockdown hit all of them hard, however, and severely reduced cash flow during the time they were unable to operate. Even when operations resumed, problems with sourcing supplies continued to hamper the business. The upside, however, was that the services Mothiane offers remained in demand. This meant that he and his crew could resume work early on, and by the beginning of July, Horizon Southern Group was growing again.
While his family has been farming for generations, Mothiane says he was once deeply frustrated by their level of development in comparison with their commercial counterparts.
“I’m doing work for people with farms that are far bigger than mine, 2 000ha plus. Even though they’re far advanced, I still have knowledge [they need] and they rely on my services.”
He urges the youth not to stereotype people, and calls on all farmers to follow the example set by Nick Serfontein, owner of the Sernick Group.
给Lengau Mothiane打电话078 687 7280，或发电子邮件给他[email protected].