South Africa: Phahamang Basadi Food Garden - Women Uplifting Themselves and Their Community


Shoprite has been working with more than 300 community projects in an endeavour to mitigate hunger through food gardens and to provide early childhood development services to poor communities. Maverick Citizen interviewed five of the women leading these community projects and is running their stories over the week.

Merriam Mokgatla started and runs the Phahamang Basadi (seSotho for "women, rise up") Food Garden in Tumahole in the Free State. Flanked by her team of gardeners, she has a sparkle in her eye and a wide smile as she proudly welcomes us to her community food garden initiative.

Mokgatla's parents could only afford to pay for her education as far as matric, so she became a domestic worker to earn an income. Her husband is a mechanic and they have three children, the oldest of whom is at university studying towards a teaching degree.

In 2008, Mokgatla left her job and moved home to help her younger sister take care of their ill mother. When Mokgatla's mother died in 2017, she and her sister were unemployed and they decided to start a vegetable garden to sustain themselves, drawing on the experience they had growing up in the village of Vaal-Eden. She...

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