My name is Meisie Msibi, I am 42 years old, I am a mother of four children – Mthokozisi (26 years old), Thandekile (18 years old), Fezile (13 years old) and Snegugu (10 years old). I was born and raised in Ngoneni Village in Mpumalanga, where I also went to Primary school.

In 2001 I graduated from High School in Kromdraai, Ekulindeni. From 2002 to 2003 I got my first job doing domestic work for Indian family in Barberton.

Between 2004 an 2007 I stayed home and took care of the children. In 2008 I was employed by local Municipality Office cleaning pipes and doing road maintenance.

In 2011 I started to work for myself selling Tupperware. In 2015 I got another temporary work at local Municipality Office through EPWP (Extended Public Work Program) – which is government’s program which aims to provide poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed.

In 2017, after my mother died, I took over her farm and started to produce and sell peanuts and corn.

My mother was an inspiration to me and she taught me that as a woman I must be able to stand for myself and work the field. That is where our abundance comes from. We work with the seasons and plant in November before the rains, since my water supply is limited. I hire a tractor driver once a year to plow the field, work the field myself and then find people for the harvest time.

In February I go to the mountains to collect Marula fruits. I make beer out of it so I can offer it to the workers together with food as a mutual exchange. I also go to the mountains to collect grasses from which I make brooms. These I sell at the local market. In December I go to the mountains one more time to look for Mnonomnande Plant (spice), harvest it and sell it to the Indians who use it in their food.

All the money I make I use for raising my children, paying for their transport to school and paying tuition fees for my oldest son who is at the College in Barberton. My son helps me back by cutting lawns in the suburbs.

My dream is to work with the community growing more fruits and vegetables and manage small businesses, producing and selling food. I feel empowered getting on board with Lucky, Bhudi, Lwazi and Katu who share their knowledge with me and are all hard workers. Our people have the land, they just need to learn the skills and get the water access to be able to stand for themselves.