Kirmish (Dyoks) Dyokolwana, a farmer from Cofimvaba, said that he was extremely proud and excited to be the first black farmer to be elected to any executive committee of the organisation.
“[I’m proud] not because I managed to achieve it, but because I was not afraid to prove to myself that I could do it,” he said.
“It will probably take days before it actually sinks in. Now I can show my people that democracy can work, and does work, in agriculture. I can also tell them that it’s possible to move from grassroots level to commercial level.
“I managed to lift my standards, although it took hard labour, working from early morning till late at night, to achieve what I’ve just achieved. Now I can change the mindset of my people.
“I can show them that black and white farmers can work together. I believe that working hand-in-hand, black and white farmers can achieve much more than we’ve achieved in the past.”
Dyokolwana said that his first task as vice-chairperson would be to encourage black farmers in the province, or anywhere else in the country, to become members of organised agriculture and of the ECRPO.
“I’ll be able to assist my black colleagues to improve their farming methods to also become commercial farmers. It’s now time they realise they can also [do this],” he said.