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Widow continues community work started with late husband

Vivian Dafeti who started the Vuka Mntomtsha Agricultural Co-operative with her husband Zibele Dafeti 17 years ago assisting poor people continues with it alone following her husband murder In May 29.
Vivian Dafeti who started the Vuka Mntomtsha Agricultural Co-operative with her husband Zibele Dafeti 17 years ago assisting poor people continues with it alone following her husband murder In May 29.
Image: LULAMILE FENI

Vivian Dafeti, the widow of respected Mthatha businessman Zibele Dafeti, has vowed to continue the many community building projects they started 17 years ago.

She was all smiles when DispatchLIVE visited one of their farming initiatives.

Dafeti has found purpose amid grieving for her husband, who was gunned down two months ago outside one of his businesses in KwaLink village.

Michael Ntozini said many people had received assistance from the Dafeti couple.

“They are not only heroes of Mthatha but of the Eastern Cape. They are our Father Christmas and Mother Therese in many ways.

“They have golden hearts to give, an ear to listen and wisdom to share, but they remain humble,” Ntozini said.   

The Dafetis are prolific farmers, supplying vegetables to many retail shops in the OR Tambo district.

They also own two general dealer shops and a tavern at KwaLink and Matshongwe villages.

Through their Vuka Mntomtsha (arise young people) Agricultural Co-operative, they created many jobs.

Some people harvest from a piece of land owned by the co-op near the Mthatha Dam, which is shared among community members for free.    

They also provide groceries for  the needy, donate school uniform, pay school fees, attend to medical needs and even assist with funerals.

After burying her husband on June 12, Dafeti started working the land and assisting the needy.

“My husband’s legacy will not die. I will never disappoint Ndala [Zibele’s clan name], my family and the community.

“I am continuing with what we started together in 2005 and I will continue serving our community and share with them the little we have.”

They started the co-operative in 2005, planting spinach, potatoes, cabbage and maize.

There are four members: Dafeti, Yandisa Dafeti, Aphiwe Tshangela and Owethu Bidla.

“The reason for starting the project is poverty alleviation and job creation. We have 15 youths who are permanent,” she said.  

Community member Nosisa Qashani described the couple as “godsent”.

“Zibele and his wife are our rescuers. Even if you had a problem and you could not afford to pay for a tractor at that particular moment, Zibele and his wife would assist you with their tractor.

“During the June and December holidays, they would take our children to work on their projects.

“They went out of their way to ensure no-one went to bed on an empty stomach.”

Another community member, Nosizile Qashani, said their children were no longer living on street corners because of this initiative.

“Whenever there was something to be done, Zibele and his wife would be the ones to fork out money.

“We feared when he was no more the project would collapse, but now we are happy his wife is committed to continue assisting,” Qashani said.

OR Tambo Farmers Association secretary Mlungisi Ndobeni said the couple were “a leading light, people with not only a golden heart but also a Midas touch when it came to farming”. 

Kei Fresh Produce Market’s Melinkqubo Ndabokutya said the Dafetis were one of the best emerging farmers for potatoes in the OR Tambo district.

“They create jobs, not only fight poverty in their village, but transfer farming skills to the youth and make farming appealing to the youth.

“Their projects have become a source of income for many families in their village. They mentor many youth in running agriculture as a business.

“Zibele and his wife care for the needy, they are a beacon of hope and should be recognised and celebrated for their unselfish deeds making a difference in other people’s lives,” Ndabokutya said.

DispatchLIVE


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