From NSFAS to Success: North West Farmer Overcomes Adversity to Build Thriving Agri-Businesses While Pursuing PhD
Tumisang Ben Matshogo is a North West farmer who has overcome many challenges to become the proud owner of two farming businesses while completing his PhD degree in animal science. Despite growing up in a difficult situation, with both his parents unemployed and having to support his family since 2012, Matshogo has always kept his eyes forward and his mind focused on achieving his goals.
Growing up, Matshogo had to face many difficulties. Both his parents were unemployed and he had to be the sole breadwinner for his family since 2012. He remembers going to school with only R1 in his pocket and not being able to afford a proper lunch. Being the first born at home, he felt that it was his duty to change their situation. However, young Matshogo had sleepless nights worrying whether he would qualify for a bursary should the time come.
Matshogo’s mother’s employer suggested that he apply for university and offered to pay the application fee. At the time, his father had lost his job, so it was a tough time. Matshogo was accepted and started his studies with a NSFAS bursary and later also a bursary from the National Research Foundation. He is also the first in his family to go to university. Matshogo has since progressed in his study of animal science to where he is currently completing his PhD at the North-West University.
In 2017, Matshogo was in his final year of doing his Master’s degree when he decided to try his hand at farming. He says one of the reasons why he started farming was because he was worried that he would not get a job after graduating. He started with only four cattle. Over the years he has grown his herd to 34, supplying cattle for weddings, funerals, traditional ceremonies and rituals where families require a cow to slaughter. He farms on shared land of about 870 hectares. The communal space shared with six other farmers is divided into camps of which Matshogo occupies nine. He hopes to have 40 cows by next year.
Matshogo’s story is a testament to the power of determination and hard work. Despite facing many challenges, he has been able to succeed in his education and in his farming business. He firmly believes that agriculture is the right path for him and will continue to pursue it as it is a large contributor to South Africa’s economy and people need to eat.
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Article Source: https://www.foodformzansi.co.za