Andile is one of the latest additions to the Abalimi farmer network. He has been with Abalimi and Harvest of Hope since April 2016.
Andile ́s dream was once to become a buyer in the fashion industry. He thought a job there would give him the opportunity to travel around the world. He then studied IT system support engineering for two years and worked at Vodacom for ten more years. But he never really felt connected with the work he was doing. Andile finally came to the conclusion: “Farming has always been a part of me and I love it more!”
Back in Eastern Cape his father has a farm with livestock, mainly cattle. One day when visiting some friends in Khayelitsha, Andile passed by the Masithobelane Garden and spoke with the people working there. He was impressed by the capacity of the garden. They exchanged contact details and in December 2015 they called him and invited Andile to join their garden.
Since then Andile is responsible for all the admin. Furthermore he is checking the quality of the soil and the produce that comes out of it. He believes that vegetables grown using organic methods are “a kind of healthcare.” Andile has learned a lot about work ethic from the elderly farmers. “But soil quality is poor. We still lack electricity and the biggest challenge is vandalism and theft”, he says.
Besides gardening, Andile is a Tuesday Garden Tour leader for Abalimi and is a member of VUFA (Vukuzenzela Urban Farmers Association). In future he wants to do philanthropic work, be an entrepreneur, travel the world and own a farm that is self sustaining. “You can be a farmer who does more than just producing crops”, he says.
Andile would also like to grow strawberries because “Strawberries are very intimate, they bring lovers to your farm, couples and people with families.”
Although he lives more simply since he left the corporate world Andile says: “I am happier than ever before.”