No frills for KZN’s Brahman Lady

“Brahman Lady” Nokukhanya Ngubo, 28, is passionate about being a cattle farmer and making her mark in a male-dominated world. | Supplied

“Brahman Lady” Nokukhanya Ngubo, 28, is passionate about being a cattle farmer and making her mark in a male-dominated world. | Supplied

Published Feb 3, 2024


Durban — A KwaZulu-Natal woman has earned the nickname of “Brahman Lady” because of her vast knowledge of the cattle breed that is popular in the province and South Africa.

Nokukhanya Ngubo, 28, now farming in Dundee in northern KZN, was introduced to agriculture as a child.

When in the care of her grandmother in Esikhawini, she and her eight siblings learnt to look after chicks until they were fully-fledged chickens.

“As a way of supplementing the family income, we would accompany grandma to sell vegetables and that is how agriculture as a way of life got ingrained in me. I realised that our lives depended on agriculture and that is when I sought to gain as much knowledge as I could,” she said.

Ngubo said it was a difficult time but helped her develop a sense of responsibility early in life.

After completing her basic education, she studied at the University of Zululand followed by training at Mount Edgecombe.

However, it was her time as a farmworker, rising through the ranks to eventually becoming the farm manager for a livestock owner in Empangeni and Newcastle, that proved invaluable.

She recalled how she would often be required to drive across the country to fetch cattle, a highly demanding exercise.

“Cattle are like children and need to be constantly looked after so you can get a good return from them. Along the way, I would stop the truck and inspect more than a hundred cattle. It was quite an experience,” Ngubo said.

But she brushed aside the challenges because of her ultimate goal.

Over the years, Ngubo has worked in the male-dominated field of agriculture, learning everything from cattle breeding to understanding the entire value chain in livestock ownership.

Now she is hoping for assistance from the government to help her farm to operate successfully. Ngubo said that being a farmer, especially a livestock farmer, took a lot of determination.

She acquired two 400ha farms in Dundee but said she still needed equipment. She said assistance would be invaluable and would help her to share her skills with other emerging farmers.

Ngubo gives farming advice to Ukhozi FM listeners, and it was this experience that made her realise how few women were in the field.

On the radio show Ngubo answers questions ranging from the kind of crops to plant in which types of soil, to detecting the kind of ailments that cattle could be suffering from and the treatment they may need.

The demanding and time-consuming job leaves little time for frills, and Ngubo said there were just five skirts and dresses in her wardrobe.

“In the morning I put on a khaki shirt, shorts and boots because time is important in this field and I have found there is not a lot of time (to spend on dressing up).”

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