The Stories of Naledi: – Working on the Future with a Vision
During the ‘apartheid’, land workers on the farms were never sure of their future. All the rules were aimed at keeping the white farmers in power, and the workers in a position of dependence. After the end of the apartheid in 1990, this situation remained the same on many farms.
The founders of the Earthrise Trust, together with the community of Naledi village, want to demonstrate that farms and communities in South Africa can be run in a more equitable way. Gino Govender, one of the founders of the Earthrise Trust: ‘Everything we do here is aimed at strengthening the dignity of the people.’
Therefore, community-led initiatives have been started up in Naledi, which are divided into different companies. On top of this, the Earthrise Trust has ensured that for the first time in the history of South Africa, land rights could be returned to the community of Naledi village. The existing rules did not allow this, and thanks to this lobbying, an example has been set for other communities in South Africa. Additionally, they now work together with the regional government, so that subsidies can be applied for and there will be access to electricity.
The second story of Naled: We look at the past, the present and the future, and allow the inhabitants to speak for themselves.
Molefi Ralebenya (23) – founder of bee-keeping in Naledi Village
Molefi Ralebenya was born on the ‘Rustler Valley’ farm in Naledi and decided to start a beekeeping business here. He lost both parents at a young age, and had to take care of himself. After having lived elsewhere for a number of years, Molefi returned to his place of birth. He acknowledges that nailed is a peaceful place with a lot of potential. In the cities, everybody is in a rush and thinking of themselves, whereas in the community of Naledi, people help each other get ahead.
A small loan helped Molefi start his beekeeping business. At this point, he has 27 beehives and he is hoping to expand his company further. He would like to develop various products, such as cream, candles made of beeswax, and products based on propolis. Molefi views his business with confidence: ‘The bees are my employees. They never have a day off and that is why I am fond of them.’
Malefi’s beekeeping business is expanding continually, and the demand has already surpassed the supply. ‘Customers are asking for honey, while I also need honey here in the village.’ The honey is used for all sorts of applications here; for instance, as a cure for people who have the flu.
Aside from working for his own beekeeping business, Molefi also gets hired by surrounding communities or farmers to remove beehives or to have crops pollinated. Molefi sees the value of bees and warns us that our food production is in danger, because the worldwide bee population is still diminishing.