Sisters Nqobile (27) and Bongiwe (22) Khumalo are poster girls for the saying ‘where there is a will, there is a way’.
Residents of Warrenton in the Northern Cape, they are proof that you do not need many resources to be innovative. Nqobile, a trained paramedic and firefighter, and Bongiwe battled to find employment in their town and decided to save part of their R350 COVID-19 social relief of distress grants to use as start-up capital for a poultry business.
They had recently been to a local agricultural event and were inspired by how farming could both provide an income and contribute to the development of the country.
“After a few months of saving our grant and other funds, we had about
R5 000 and decided to use that to buy 200 chicks, drinkers and feed. That is how GC Blue Lagoon, trading as the ‘Khumalo Sisters’ Chickens’ started,” says Nqobile.
The sisters now raise 600 broiler chicks at a time, which they slaughter at six weeks and sell whole to the community.
Nqobile said the teething difficulties they met included having little to no experience in farming and having to learn on the job.
“We used to wake up as early as 2am to put a brazier in our makeshift chicken run to warm the chicks to optimise growth. It was during these trying months that we learnt valuable farming lessons and made inroads with regard to contacts and how to grow the company.”
In 2021, confident about the growth of their business, the Khumalo sisters approached the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) for funding and training.
“Eventually, we were accepted to attend two types of business management training held at the regional offices. Following the training courses, we were told that we qualified to apply for a business grant,” says Nqobile.
She says with help from the NYDA assistants, they managed to successfully apply and were given R50 000 in grant funding, which they used to buy additional chicks, hire four women to help with the work and buy machinery.
Their next plan is to secure more land so that they can expand their business and create more jobs for local women and youth.