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Home Entrepreneurship 24-Year-Old Black Woman Started Selling Fish Plates, Now Farms 500 Acres

24-Year-Old Black Woman Started Selling Fish Plates, Now Farms 500 Acres

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“White people owned the land and Black people only worked in their gardens or fields.” That’s what Njabulo Mbokane once thought about agriculture but not anymore. Njabulo knew that her family couldn’t afford to send her to college so she had to find another way. She started out selling fish and chips on the corner of a gas station but now she employs three people fulltime and another 13 during the busy harvesting season, as a farmer in South Africa. Njabulo grows corn on over 500 acres of farmland and recently, ventured into livestock on another 64 acres.

Njabulo was able to sell enough fish and chips to scratch out a living but she wanted more. Her interest in agriculture was sparked when a friend told her that he intended to study agriculture. Njabulo had begun working at a local school’s vegetable garden. The school’s garden had effectively stopped operating because of financial constraints but Njabulo offered to cover the costs to reboot the operation, so she could gain more farming experience. Njabulo was able to grow a variety of foods, including lettuce, spinach, carrots and cauliflower. Njabulo knew she could do even more but she needed more training. She was fortunate to receive assistance to study at an agricultural training institute.

Njabulo wasn’t an overnight success, however. She started by leasing five acres to grow soy beans — the crop failed. Next she partnered with a commercial farmer, who was able to provide machinery and other inputs. Njabulo took on an additional 37 acres and this time it worked. She was able to sell her crop to Rand Agri, a bulk trader in the southern African grain markets. Njabulo leased an additional 494 acres in 2018 and took part in the South African Breweries (SAB) farmer development program, in partnership with a Black owned agricultural services company, FarmSol. The program seeks to attract young farmers but also requires them to produce corn — fortunately Njabulo had close to 500 acres to play with.

Njabulo Mbokane won the SAB Young Emerging Farmer of the Year Award in 2019.
Njabulo Mbokane won the SAB Young Emerging Farmer of the Year Award in 2019.

Njabulo was given the Young Emerging Farmer of the Year Award by SAB. She is also branching out into livestock, a venture she hopes will ultimately lead to an agricultural incubator for people who are interested in agriculture and young farmers. Njabulo started out selling fish and chips to feed her son. Her family didn’t have the means to pay for her education. Despite all these obstacles, at 24 years of age, she’s a boss.

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D'Juan Hopewell
I care about Black Power. Period. Currently working on creating jobs and funding new startups on the South Side of Chicago and writing here and there at HopewellThought.com. Follow me @HopewellThought.
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30 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely wonderful… during these trying times…it is a true blessing to read a story about a young black woman taking back the land and working it… congratulations and keep up the work…you definitely have this

  2. A GREAT STORY OF ENTRAPEUNEUR SHIP THAT MAKE US ALL BELIEVE THAT WITH A LITTLE LUCK, AND PERSERVENCE YOI TOO CAN BECOME A FARMING SUCCESS!!!!!! THAT’S GREAT, AND THE WORLD NEEDS MORE FARMERS!!!!!!!!

  3. Congratulations to this amazing young lady. She deserves this recognition and hope she inspires others to work hard and go back to farming for healthier foods and make a great income while doing so.

  4. I love this Am a upcoming farmer in Zambia just got a big land still thinking of other things to put on it have only planted maize 🌽

  5. Articles like these reinforce my faith in the indomitable strength of our black (world wide) nationality and our ability to repulse the epistemological hegemony of white domination, bigotry and economic deprivation.

  6. What an awesome story.

    That corn looks so beautiful.

    The right equipment for sure. That Hohn Deere will get the job done.

    Best of luck to you.

  7. I am busy with database collection of the youth at my ward in Mangaung Metro Municipality. Luckily we have Dr Ncube from University Of Free State to help us achieve with our mission to empower youths with necessary skills through trainings and learnerships, so that they could participate positively in gross domestic product of this country.

    I realize amount of work lying ahead of my team, of course, it is not easy working with youths from impoverished society including other social issues.

    Please contact to help me with more information and related programs – my mobile 0730325489.

  8. Congratulations Njabulo, you have boosted my moral and fill me up with joy. I am pursuing the same dream Ghana but I started with Poultry and early next year jump into maize and soya bean as well. We The you of Africa will change our continent by industrializing Agriculture end to end. I wish to visit your farm one day to share knowledge and skills.

  9. #WONDERFUL
    1 Corinthians 3:6-23 King James Version (KJV)
    6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

    Continued Blessings Young Lady, Amen!

  10. Very glad for this young farmer and her accomplishments even in the face of adversity, however this has to be the most racist piece I have read in recent memory. Is it not enough that this woman has done the unimaginable far exceeded her means but the author has to bust out the racial twist on the article.
    Once again congratulations to this strong and empowered woman whom had far out stripped complacencies and had the drive and perseverance to defy all odds excelling past her wildest dreams . Shame on the author for using catch phrases to further encase the masses with their own narrow minded views. If we aren’t race baited all people will inherently get along with each other because no child no matter their race creed or social standing comes from the womb hating anyone or anything , for hate is a learned trait.

  11. I wish that I could help. I grew up on a 1000 acer farm in southern Mi. We grew corn soybeans and alfalfa that we feed to Angus cows I retired this year so I am free to go just about anywhere.

  12. Congratulations, warms my heart to see a young lady so determined to make her dreams a reality! I pray that God continue to bless her over and beyond her wildest dreams!

  13. Another great story about one of our own. I’m 24 myself and this a motivation for me to keep on fighting for excellence in my life and for my Race.

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