Nhlakanipho believes that true wealth comes from a strong community, meaningful work and the ability to grow and eat good food.
He recalls with pride the family stories that are still told, about the time when his ancestors lived sustainably at amaKhuze, before they were forcibly removed during Apartheid resettlements. “They were an integrated, cooperative community – with their own market for cattle, one household produced potatoes, another supplied milk –so wealth circulated within the amaKhuze community,” he remembers, “They were a disciplined and lived by the principles of respect, integrity, persistence and the spirit of accomplishing whatever they set their minds to.”
Despite their relocation, the Nzimande grandparents continued to plant potatoes, maize, sugar beans, sorghum and wheat and live as self-sufficiently as possible. Nhlakanipho learned much from them during school holidays and, on returning home to his mother and sister in Newcastle, his responsibility was to take care of their urban garden.
The Ikhuze passion is still strong in Nhlakanipho as he works to keep those values alive and share his love of nature, gardening and animals with people in the Mpophomeni community. Combining his entrepreneurial and permaculture skills he intends to help others to be in control of their lives by producing more and consuming less. “My mission is to create local trading opportunities and help develop a greener, healthier and more sustainable community.” He is off to a good start, helping local schools set up food gardens and ensuring that his three boys have plenty of their favourite vegetables – beetroot, carrots and lettuce – to eat.