“I want the youth to smash stereotypes and tread in spaces our parents would have never dreamt of treading,” says Mokgadi Mabela. The 33-year-old is the director and founder of Native Nosi. Native Nosi is a company that produces and sells honey, wax and organic and indigenous by-products.
Mabela is a third-generation beekeeper. Her grandfather, the first bee-farmer in their family, used his savings to start a small beekeeping operation. Many years later Mabela continues the tradition but in her own way. Using the knowledge passed down from her grandfather and father. Mabela had to contend with the challenging modern honey market — but has made a name for herself by producing superior honey of better value.
Mabela is proud of the fact that her Native Nosi honey is special. She says the customer is given exactly what the bees made: her company won’t tamper with the honey produced by the bees in any way.
And Mabela has been recognised for her outstanding work. In 2019, she was recognised for her contribution as a female farmer in the food industry. She won the Woolworths FoodXX agriculture award at the Women In Foods awards by FoodXX. She was recognised for giving back, for sustainability and being the future of food.
The award for her work has helped Mabela gain a better sense of the importance she is bringing to the honey industry. She says she used to underprice her honey to compete with the commercial retailers. However, she realised that her target market values her product and will pay the price for a raw, pure product with sources they know and trust.