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Life Lessons

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
December 2, 2017

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Interviewing Dinah, Mamayila, and Maria in Dinah's garden Once a year I get to spend a month or so in rural South Africa, sitting in the shade listening to the life stories of older women. The privilege is not lost on me. I listen to the women's stories, ruminate on their challenges. Then I come home to my middle-class house in my cosy seaside city and write about their lives. Little by little I’m learning to

Climate Change on the Farm

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
July 24, 2017

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The people of Jopi village feel like canaries in a coal mine. The local metaphor features a snail collecting ashes. When I visited Jopi during the severe Southern African drought of 2014-2016, vegetable farmer Daina M told me that home food gardens in the village had produced “nothing, nothing at all” during the growing seasons. Scant rain came too late for the maize and groundnuts that are staples of the local diet. Mhani Daina in an
When I first met the women of Hleketani garden I was moved by the community vegetable project they had set up under apartheid, but I didn't quite foresee the rich research relationships that would follow. An offhand query as I prepared to return to Canada touched things off. Would any of the women like to talk to an historian about their lives? “All, all would like to talk with you,” Evelyn N told me. During the

Photo Essay: A Farm Week

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
May 20, 2017

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Harvest! Mthavini, Rose, and grandson harvest mustard The art of seed saving Mmamaropeng with her seed library of heritage varieties Cherished seeds of 'traditional' (rainy season) foods: these foods 'never came from the store' Mhlava saves seeds for coveted pumpkin leaves Pumpkin leaves Dried tinyawa (bean) leaves Heritage beans This week's produce to market Mthavini and Rose harvest mustard with young helper Rose and Josephine with chard for local sale Mphepu and Rosina - effective use

Alice’s Restaurant

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
May 10, 2017

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Early morning doughnuts Alice has raised the price of her legendary doughnuts. People had been telling her to do so for a long while but she worried that the school kids wouldn't be able to buy them. She needn't have worried. They still sell like -- well, like doughnuts -- and she's pocketing a little more money for her efforts. Our early morning with Alice is a favourite memory from the film shoot, not least