Empowering People at the Thornybush Community Projects
We'd like to introduce you to Keysman Nkuna!
Keysman is a 28-year-old go-getter from Dixie village. His dream was to become an entrepreneur and work for himself, in which field though, he was not sure.
He had never pictured himself in farming but he jumped at the opportunity to assist us with the Hananani school food garden in April 2018. The garden was looking for a strong man to help with the more labour intensive work, and Keysman jumped at the opportunity to get involved in something new.
Within his first month, Keysman had shown great initiative. New beds were springing up all over the garden with plants he had brought from his home. He had made a beautiful garden sign, engineered from materials lying around, as he believed this would improve the aesthetics of the entrance.
He was the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave in the afternoon. With a permanent smile on his face, Keysman told us that he had found a new passion.
Investing in People
Our Community Project Manager Candice, quickly realised that she needed to invest in Keysman. Together they agreed that Keysman would look after the school's garden on a permanent basis.
The Hananani school garden was gifted to the school in 2014 by the Thornybush Community Projects. It currently produces between 10-15kgs per week of fresh produce for the 200 leaners, who get a meal every day while at school.
Peppers, carrots, onions, spinach and beetroot are some of the main produce grown for the students.
Candice then identified the area around the food garden as being under utilised, so she approached the school Governing Board and negotiated a deal to utilise this land for the next 5 years.
Keysman and Candice then started planning a new community garden, to be owned and managed by Keysman himself, with the objective to grow fresh produce for the Dixie community to purchase.
Currently, other than individual home growers, the closest town to purchase fresh produce is in the village of Utah, 5km away. Most locals do not own a vehicle, so it would mean walking the 10km/6.2mile round-trip, or spending money on local transportation.
Keysman immediately saw this as an opportunity and his true entrepreneurship came through. He chose the name Pfunekani Africa for his micro enterprise, meaning ' Helping Africa', with the very fitting slogan "Enjoy the local taste of fresh."
He immediately began drawing up planting schedules and preparing his beds for his first crop. He began market research within Dixie to see what his customers needs were and quickly erected a makeshift shade cloth structure to protect his first batch of seedlings.
Thornybush have committed to mentoring Keysman and assisting with funding when needed. It falls beautifully within Candice's belief of "There is no tool for development more effective, than the empowerment of a person."
We are so excited to follow Keysman on his exciting journey, and look forward to updating you regularly on his progress.
To donate to the Thornybush projects or to see what else they are actively involved in, visit the website.