Sugar estate manager in the making is determined to succeed in the agricultural sector

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Phoenix Durban

Makhosi Celiwe Cebekhulu is currently shadowing an estate manager of a farm in Tugela in northern KZN, as a trainee estate manager.

A member of a rural farming community on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, who were previously dispossessed of their land, has secured the opportunity to be part of an Agricultural Internship Programme which is a two-year intervention designed to develop qualifying individuals and agricultural graduates into assistant estate managers.

Ubizo Communal Property Association (CPA), in partnership with agri-processing company Tongaat Hulett signed a 10-year agreement at the beginning of this year. 

One of the themes contained in the lease agreement was the capacity building and training theme which focused on assisting qualifying individuals within the community to participate in interventions that will build their knowledge, experience and skills.

The capacity building and training programme was dividing into two interventions. 

The first intervention was centred around the Agricultural Internship Programme where Tongaat Hulett committed itself to training one or two individuals within the Ubizo community to become assistant farm managers.

The second intervention was extended to incorporate a wide range of educational programmes including the bursary and learnership programme; junior and senior certificate courses in sugarcane agriculture; and other relevant agricultural and engineering programmes. 

Makhosi Celiwe Cebekhulu, a deputy secretary at CPA, felt humbled to be one of the candidates selected to attend a five-week training course in sugarcane agriculture funded by Tongaat Hulett.
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The 36-year-old from Obizo Tribal Council in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal said her agricultural inspiration derived from having grown up on a farm and seeing a shortage of skills to harvest.

She holds a senior certificate in sugarcane agriculture from SASRI alongside with her junior certificate.

“I had no theoretical background in botany – the scientific study of plants. I thoroughly enjoyed my first module which included the study of species or subspecies in my junior certificate course. I am extremely grateful to Tongaat Hulett, CPA, community and Tribal Council for granting me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow in the agricultural industry,” said Cebekhulu.
A people’s person and a go-getter, she is currently shadowing an estate manager of a farm in Tugela in northern KZN, as a trainee estate manager.

The 12-month programme allows her to have a hands-on experience in cultivation and gain knowledge on the different types of harvesters.

She wants to acquire the skills of an estate manager, who brings out the best in his or her team and constantly motivates them to reach for the best.
“There are many operational activities in the sugarcane industry that can only be learnt by dirtying your hands,” Cebekhulu said.

Her advice to youth is to productively use every opportunity that comes your way and to continuously believe in yourself.  In her spare time, Cebekhulu enjoys spending quality time with family and friends.

Her father is her biggest role model in life as he always taught Cebekhulu to stand for what she wants and never be afraid to speak the truth.
She looks forward to being a successful estate manager and continue pursuing her studies in agriculture.

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