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Growing a farming dream from retail roots

Moving from retail to the farming industry was a relatively easy transition for Zolani Ngcingwana, as farming had always been a passion. 	Picture: Supplied

Moving from retail to the farming industry was a relatively easy transition for Zolani Ngcingwana, as farming had always been a passion. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 22, 2017

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Pursuing a life-long dream to become a farm owner has proved fruitful for a Cedarville farmer who has established a successful operation.
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Zolani Ngcingwana, who grew up watching his father farm on land he did not own, was 59 when he bought a small private farm with help from Ithala Development Finance Corporation six years ago.

Ngcingwana’s Yellow Star Farm now employs 10 permanent employees and about 20 casual staff.


Ngcingwana hopes his children will take a firm interest in agriculture, so he can groom them to take over and develop a leading agricultural enterprise after his retirement.

Before he began farming, Ngcingwana was in retail and owned shops in Mount Frere and Port St Johns, and a pole manufacturing business in Mthatha. However he decided to follow his passion for farming and acquired a maize and cattle farm which boasts an impressive 800 hectares.

“Back when blacks could not legally own or lease land, my father had unofficially leased land from a white farmer friend. This reinforced the passion and desire to own a farm once circumstances permitted,” he said.


Ngcingwana, who has been married for 40 years and has six children, said his family is his most prized possession and attributed his passion for entrepreneurship to his parents.

His parents had several rural shops in the Eastern Cape and a peasant farming homestead.

As an experienced business owner, Ngcingwana emphasised the need to be flexible to adapt in a world that is constantly changing.

He also prides himself on hard work: “When you are an entrepreneur you have to be open to learning.”

He has already identified another farm, which specialises in sheep farming, that he plans to acquire.


He said he appreciated Ithala’s developmental philosophy and the promotion of sustainable growth for previously disadvantaged people in the business sector.

Ngcingwana has also assisted several disadvantaged children from his community to attend school and created job opportunities.

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