Nelly Bassily | July 28, 2008
Thankanyana Mosime hopes that more single women farmers will be as successful as she is. Ms. Mosime grows crops and raises cattle to support herself, her grandchildren, and many of her relatives’ children. But she lives a relaxed lifestyle compared to the past.
Ms. Mosime recently shared her story of hardship and success with a Botswanian newspaper, in hopes of inspiring others. She urged Botswanian women to unite in farmer cooperatives, and called on the government to do more to support women farmers.
As a young teenager, Ms. Mosime was pulled out of school. Her parents were content that she had learned to read, and wanted her help on the family farm. It was a bittersweet time for Ms. Mosime. Although she had always been fascinated by agriculture, she also wished she could stay in school.
By the age of 16, she went to South Africa to sort peanuts on a commercial farm. She continued to work for large farmers until, one day, she decided to take two bags of maize she had earned and do something for herself. She used her earnings from selling maize to return home and put herself through school.
Ms. Mosime began worked as a typist and bookkeeper. Her salary allowed her to invest in what she really loved, and plan for a retirement in which she would concentrate on agriculture. She began cultivating a small plot of land and purchased cows and a bull.
For some 15 years, Ms. Mosime worked office jobs from Monday to Friday and tended to her farm on evenings and weekends. She laments that there was never time to relax, either emotionally or physically. Commuting from town to her land meant taking a public bus, then walking 10 kilometres. Physical tasks such hauling large harvests and repairing fences were never easy.
Today, Ms. Mosime has retired from her weekday job and enjoys focusing on her crops and cattle. She encourages other women farmers to make their lives easier by working together in cooperatives, to share workloads and profits.
Now an active member of the Botswana Farmers Association, Ms. Mosime recently met with the Assistant Minister of Agriculture at a farmers’ convention. She advocates for the Botswanian government to do more for single women farmers. The government is preparing to allocate farmland, and Ms. Mosime wants to see some of this land devoted to women farmer cooperatives.
Although Ms. Mosime overcame many hardships on her own, she hopes that other women will receive more support. She says the government should assist women farmers by drilling borehole wells and providing soil tests.
Click here to see the notes to broadcasters on single woman farmer