The hope of a nation

Phangisile writes an open letter to professional farmers-in-waiting, particularly students who will graduate soon.

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Students, professional farmers-in-waiting, soon you’ll leave college or university with qualifications that bear testimony to your hard work and your lecturers’ dedication. Congratulations! But the real learning is about to begin, and you’ll need many rungs on your ladder to success.

You must be passionate about the land, animals and crops. When days are tough and doubt set in, passion will get you up in the morning.

Unemployment is a major challenge for our country’s youth. When updating your CV, highlight your skills and experiences that will increase your opportunities to contribute to the economy. South Africa needs job creators as there is an oversupply of job seekers. So true success will not lie just in getting a plush government job, but in contributing to improving food security for your family, community and the country.

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In a country that doesn’t seem to be very tough on dishonesty and incompetence, hold on to your integrity and guard it with your life. As for those who join the civil service – remember, you’re there to serve. If you get to manage projects, deliver on your mandate and don’t get “creative” and divert some of the resources meant for the poor to your bank account – you already get paid a salary.

Always be honest and discharge your tasks with dedication. No matter how small or demeaning you may believe those tasks to be, see them as stepping stones to greater heights.

All the ability, passion, integrity and dedication won’t amount to much if you don’t live long enough to make the most of your opportunities. Take care of your health, know your HIV status, and if you need to, take your ARVs.

Hope will reinforce your belief in your abilities and the skills. Hope will keep your passion burning when you’re beset by challenges. It will make you do your duties with dedication under whatever system or circumstances.  When you graduate, you’ll carry the hope of your family, community and other emerging farmers, because we need your abilities, passion and dedication to help us prosper.