Young graduates are not spared the hardships of unemployment but a qualified Limpopo civil engineer has found an alternative way out

Nthabeleng Tefo

WHEN he was still studying for his civil engineering diploma Blessing Ziba used to tell his farmer parents he would never set foot on their plot once he graduated.

The 26-year-old from Masodi village in Mokopane in Limpopo who graduated from the Waterberg FET College has been forced to go back on his words.

After struggling to find a job he went back to the garden his parents ran in their backyard and has since made great strides, including supplying retail stores with produce from the plot.

He graduated in 2018 and after failing to secure employment, he then joined his parents to sell vegetables.

Ziba’s parents have been farming most of their lives and he has been helping them from a young age, but it was never his dream to farm for a living.

“I remember telling my parents that I will never set a foot on the garden after graduating, little did I know that farming will take me to greener pastures,’’ he said.

“My presence in the family business has been nothing but fruitful and rewarding because my parents no longer have to use a wheelbarrow to sell to customers, instead customers come to us,’’ he said.

He expanded the small backyard garden that used to feed his family and his community into a registered business that now supplies supermarkets in town. He plants vegetables that are in demand like spinach, onions, and tomatoes. His vegetables currently cover around two hectares of the land and he wishes to acquire more land.

“The journey wasn’t all rosy, like other entrepreneurs I also faced challenges but I had to come up with ways to overcome them. I thank my parents because even in their old age, they still help out and they are much involved in the business which makes the whole process easy as I get all the support I need,’’ he said.

To grow the family business, he had to do door to door marketing. Ziba also had to come up with new and creative ways of farming and marketing to help the business grow. He even went to the extent of adding poultry farming to the venture. He now has two permanent employees and four casual workers.

One of the major problems he has is shortage of water. He currently has about 10 000 litres of water from a borehole which is not enough for his crops.

“I am doing everything with no funding and thus limits what I can do. I have tried applying for funding a couple of times and all have been unsuccessful,’’ he said.

Although he is doing well the farming business, Ziba is not ready to let his qualification go to waste.

According to the Stats SA, 59, 5% 0f youth are unemployed which makes job hunting a daunting exercise that Ziba plans to skip.

He will be opening his own construction company next year which he plans to hire out graduates in the same field to create opportunities. He highlighted that he has no intentions of working for anyone as he has proven to be a successful entrepreneur.

He further advises the youth to take matters into their own hands and do something to change their situation for the better. – news@mukurukuru.co.za

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