- "As a black woman, I started out with excitement. We were transforming the cane from its raw
state to the mature crop you see now," said Sibongile Matshale a member of the Siboshwa
cooperative. "When you own something, it can give you a better life. Now I've got power. I see it
in this sugar cane."
- The Siboshwa cooperative is located in the far eastern corner of
Mpumalanga Province, just west of the Mozambican border. More than 50 years ago, apartheid
authorities rounded up residents of the community in trucksówith no notice and nothing more than
what they could carry in their arms- and dumped them in inhospitable land. Then they shot their
- Today, the Siboshwa community has organized a cooperative on that land and, with
the help of a Shared Interest guarantee, is raising commercial sugar cane for the first time.
Established with assistance from the South African government, the cooperative has obtained a
contract from TSB, one of the country's primary sugar refineries, as well as training from
- "Now I think about my life," Sibongile said. "And I teach my children to
think about their lives. I was only able to attend school though the 10th Grade. My dream used to
be that my children would not end where I ended, but would finish the 12th grade. Now I am
dreaming for them to go on past matric (12th grade)- perhaps to an agricultural college- and become
professionals so they can contribute to the future her in Siboshwa.