Sugar cane grower and haulier
Nomusa Gwala is one of the women steadily changing the make-up of sugar cane farming in South Africa. Coming from a teaching background, Nomusa initially ventured into brick-making to realise a personal dream - building her family a home. While still teaching, she invested her time and finances to start a brick-making project, and with this dream coming to fruition in the full view of her neighbours, many knocked at her door to buy bricks and her brick-making business was born.
With profits from these sales, she bought her first truck to help her in working the one-hectare plot of land she got from her family.
Coming from a family of farmers, Nomusa’s continuous efforts saw her refining her knowledge, improving her sugar cane yields and growing her operation from one hectare to 18 hectares, by leasing idle plots from her neighbours. Being an independent farmer meant that she was at the forefront of engaging the Illovo sugar mill in Noodsberg on opportunities available to the community. She jumped at an opportunity for a contract with Illovo to service hers and the surrounding farms in cane haulage. Over the years, she has displayed admirable entrepreneurial skills and now owns four haulage trucks, three tractors, two grab loaders, a profitable farming operation of 18 hectares and employs 22 people.
As a sugar cane farmer, a brick-maker and a haulage contractor; her hard work and drive has made her one of the leading forces in her farming community of Swayimane in KwaZulu-Natal. Looking to the future, one of her aspirations is to grow from being a smallholder farmer to a commercial farmer within the community.