Vilane turns gogo’s backyard into a poultry farm – By Mzwandile Prince Mamaila

By Mzwandile Prince Mamaila

Tsakane is a township in the East of Johannesburg, created to house black people by the Nationalist Party in terms of the Group Areas Act segregationist policies of the 1960s. Like so many of our townships it has been home to many well-known celebrities, such as SABC 3 Isidingo actor Thulani Mtsweni, despite the township’s current deficiencies of crime, poverty, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and unemployment.

Meet 26-year-old Kgomotso Vilane, with no land to farm other than her grandmother’s backyard, she has become well-known ‘celebrity’ poultry farmer in the community of Tsakane.

Kgomotso Vilane at her poultry farm in Tsakane, where she breeds close to 1000 chickens per annum. Source: Kgomotso Vilane’s Facebook Page

Vilane began poultry farming in 2020 when she had to quit her job in Kwa Zulu Natal and move back to her hometown, Tsakane. Her son had been diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a cancer that harms the eyes. Her son’s illness required her full attention as she had to travel back and forth to the local hospital.

When she returned to Tsakane, she was unemployed, with no means of generating income. She had to find a way to make money for herself and her son, who had lost one eye due to his illness. Fortunately, she had attended an agricultural course in 2012 and was able to use this knowledge and the little money she had saved to experiment with breeding chickens. “I started a business of chicken farming. It’s rare this side, and no one is doing it,” stated Vilane. “I only started with 30-layer chickens because I didn’t really know what I was doing, but the bottom line was to start something and do something with my life and my son’s life,” added Vilane, as she explained how her poultry farming journey began.

Vilane’s investment in poultry farming has reaped positive results as she now breeds 100 – 200 broiler chickens per cycle. “Each and every six weeks of the year, I breed 200 chickens,” she explains. Vilane specializes in broiler chickens, which are common for braais, fast-food outlets, and township street food, known as “chicken dust’ or “shisa nyama.” She explains how broiler chickens are tender and ‘soft-boned’ as compared to ‘hardbody’ chickens.

Vilane has not allowed her son’s condition and unemployment to stop her from reaching greater heights. In her mid-20s, she has managed to venture into a male-dominated industry and has prospered, building a legacy for her son and the rest of her family.