Among the most marginalised of South African citizens, rural women are hoping the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) speech their economic challenges. The SABC spoke to two striving businesswomen from Kgokgojane village in the North West, who like their peers, are unable to fully participate in the mainstream economy due to their socio-economic conditions.
Kgokgojane is one of the most impoverished rural villages in the Kagisano-Molopo Local Municipality. It has no notable infrastructural development and there is still a challenge to access basic services.
Most earn their living through agriculture and 37-year-old single mother, Dikeledi Gaobonwe, is no exception.
With limited local economic opportunities, she ventured into poultry.
“I want this business to grow. I started with 250 chickens, but because of shortage of money and lack of medicine, I lost a lot of chickens. I now only have 74 chickens left, but I will ensure that this business grows. I will not just fold my arms. I will ensure the chickens grow to the number I initially intended to reach.”
On the other side of the village, 44-year-old single mother of four, Pulane Seikaneng is not doing any better. She relies on local support for her continued operations.
Her business, Bosele Bokamoso Designers, has been facing challenges since the offset three years ago. She is hoping the president could address the plight of rural women in his SONA speech.
“I appeal to the president to help us, especially uneducated women who are over 35 and have no means of livelihood. They must be supported with businesses until they can stand on their own.”
Despite the many challenges facing her chicken business, Gaobonwe is not ready to give up just yet.
Her passion for poultry has kept her going.
She too hopes the president’s speech will be a beacon of hope for her business.
“We need resources. I have no shelter for my chickens. I need chicken feed. I need medicines to address diseases for chickens. I also need the market to sell the eggs so that my business can grow and succeed.”
Both Seikaneng and Gaobonwe are committed to their respective businesses. Although they are prepared to ensure they do not collapse, they believe that a little financial support from the government can make a big difference between success and failure.