Three years ago, Mosesi Mosesi (28) was jobless and hopeless. When an opportunity for a learnership in horticulture came along, he took a huge leap of faith. That leap has completely changed his life, and today he is reaping the rewards, running an aquaponic farm in a township.
His New Liff Hydroponic Farm has since opened a well of connections for the urban farmer. Through his farming endeavour, Mosesi has rubbed shoulders with a few prominent dignitaries including pres Cyril Ramaphosa as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who visited his farm last year.
But before opportunity knocked, he was an unemployed young man with a diploma in civil engineering. He was desperately searching for a light at the end of the tunnel. The learnership, part of a Nedbank funded skills development program in partnership with the Youth Employment Service (YES), was his eventual saving grace and his business was born in 2017 as an aquaponic hub situated in the heart of Tembisa, a township on the East Rand of Gauteng.
After matriculating in 2009 from the Thuto-Lore Comprehensive School in the North West, Mosesi pursued his civil engineering diploma at the Sedibeng TVET College in the Vaal. He completed his qualification in 2011, but like many graduates was forced to stay home due to a lack of employment opportunities.
His life changed in 2017, when he found out about an opportunity to join a horticulture learnership programme and he jumped at the chance. He was identified as one of three thousand young people to benefit from the Nedbank funded skills development program in partnership with the Youth Employment Service (YES).
During this programme he developed a new fondness for plants. Through the initiative he could also harness his new-found love for agriculture and start his own business.
“I was one of the statistics of unemployment. I was unemployed for four years, until I got the learnership. I actually fell in love with plants and how they grow. It got me curious and I just wanted to further it until I got this opportunity from YES for Youth. They identified me as someone who was capable of running such a farm.”
A horticulture learnership was the spark in his deep seated love for plants. The Nedbank initiative footed the bill for Mosesi’s enterprise. “Everything was actually funded. Nedbank seeded the whole project. They gave us the boost we needed to go into the right direction,” he says.
He dreams of offering the same opportunity he received by employing more youth at his hydroponic farm. “Giving back to the community would be a very big achievement. The idea is not to employ, but to empower. If we could have the next Mosesi in our midst who is actually empowered by my business, I think that would be great.”
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