19 March 2018

South Africa: Promised Land - How MK Vet Made Farming Work for Him

Photo: FAO
(file photo).

Former uMkhonto weSizwe fighter Errol April swapped his AK47 for apples. In 2013, April was given a Western Cape fruit farm to run as part of a government land scheme. With zero farming experience, the Mitchells Plain-bred soldier has succeeded in turning a previously debt-ridden farm around with the assistance of technical mentors and industry. In part one of a Daily Maverick series on land, we look at a case that defies the stereotypes. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Errol April, 49, is searching for the perfect apple, bending over leaves still glistening from recent rain.

"This!" he says, plucking a Golden Delicious and presenting it with a flourish. But April still isn't entirely satisfied. He presses forward through his orchards, seeking a superior example. April's favourite apple is the Royal Gala: a smaller specimen with a delicate pink blush. Delicious in desserts, he says.

Five years ago, what April knew about apples could fit on the back of an envelope. Today, they are his life.

The former uMkhonto weSizwe combatant is one of a relatively small number of black South Africans to date who have received formerly white-owned agricultural land to farm. On Wednesday, Parliament heard that by 2013, just 6.5%...

South Africa

Reflecting on Mandela's Centenary

In the predawn hours of July 18, 1918, not far from the medieval cathedral town of Soissons in northeastern France,… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.