Shopping for chicken in Ncenceni
Skirting the mountainous mine tailings on the south side of Bulembu, down the valley where the stream flows through the new Royal Rangers camp, and up into the hills again, a boy and his donkey were the only traffic on the five kilometer red dirt road to the community of Ncenceni .
Andrew and Jamie walked the last quarter mile towards banana trees and our farming homestead destination, part of the several small farms of the rural community.
Grace wears the blue dress of mourning for the loss of her husband last September. She runs the farm by herself now and warmly greeted Andrew and Jamie.
Like farmers everywhere, Grace was delighted to describe her crops, including the grape arbor here that produced a good harvest. Some of the grapes were sold to the Bulembu Country Lodge.
A few hundred chickens keep Grace busy, with two of them she had just dressed and prepared for Jamie for the evening braai (barbeque) back home in Bulembu. Can’t get much fresher!
Farms are often a mix of the old and new – no exception here as microwave and satellite antennas keep touch with the rest of the world and the all-important markets for farm produce.
The approximately one million population of Swaziland is mostly rural; Grace showed us a glimpse of the hard work it takes to run a successful farm in Ncenceni, along with the kind of hospitality that adds flavor to any meal from her harvest.
Photographs and text by Gary Todoroff