Chief Ambrose Makhoba is the tribal leader of the Makhoba people. In 1946, the Makhoba people were forcibly removed from their land. They relocated to the mountainous area of Matatiele in the Eastern Cape, where they remained as subsistence farmers for the next 56 years. In 2002, after a successful land claim, their 10,000 hectares of land were returned to them by President Thabo Mbeki and the 7,000-strong community resettled on their land. The Makhoba community previously relied on subsistence farming until the intervention of Nestlé in 2008. The food producer worked together with Inyosi Empowerment, the community of Makhoba (led by Chief Ambrose Makhoba), and other entities in the farming and agriculture fraternity to develop the dairy farm into the slick technologically-advanced agricultural company that it is today. The farm started out with 150 cows and has flourished into a now 500-strong herd, becoming the largest black-owned dairy supplier to Nestlé.
Mnyamazeli Duma is a local from the Makhoba area. Living in a remote, rural area meant that opportunities for work were limited. His search led him to Springfontein Dairy. The area of Springfontein Dairy is inundated with Black Wattle trees. As an invasive species, they deplete water levels drastically. As part of the job creation initiative by Nestlé in partnership with Inyosi, they embarked on training workers to use chainsaws and chipping machines, to eradicate the overflow of trees. Teams were set up to “chop and chip”, and by chance, they discovered that the extra-fine chips could be mixed with fodder and fed to the cows. They inadvertently created a perfect and full-circle cycle of sustainable development. Mnyamazeli is now the Team Leader of the Black Wattle project and hopes to one day own his own agriculture business, creating jobs and paying it forward. The second project also resulted in a food source, but this time for the invaluable livestock that keeps the dairy farm flowing and producing.
Noncedo Mnganyama is a student of YES. In 2018, President Ramaphosa launched the YES (Youth Employment Service) initiative with the aim to place unemployed youth in paid internships within South African companies. Nestlé jumped at the opportunity, and through their partnership with Inyosi Empowerment, almost 300 young people from the Makhoba community have completed the programme. Noncedo is one such student who now works full-time at the dairy. As a Milker, besides earning money, she is learning new skills on-the-job, every day. She has developed a passion for dairy farming, saying that she does her work with love. She aspires to become a manager of her own dairy farm.