Woolworths TASTE

HONEY GIVES HER WINGS

MOKGADI

Mabela didn’t choose the bee life. The bee life chose her. And when it finally did so, it chose her unequivocally.

Her late grandfather, Erence, a crop-and-livestock farmer in Limpopo, introduced the family to beekeeping. “He had a few hives on his farm to help pollinate his crops. I never met him, but I know that he was a hard worker and took good care of his family.” She beams with pride when she speaks of him.

The 33-year-old still has a vivid memory of one of her earliest, and most powerful, encounters with freshly harvested honey. “One day, when I was about five, my father arrived home from one of the apiary sites and plated some honeycomb on a worn zinc plate. I couldn’t stop scooping up the comb and the oozing honey. It was absolutely magical.”

She grew up watching her father, Peter, a farmer by profession, working with bees and harvesting honey, and never grew tired of eating it. “But my intention was never to be a hero grandchild and continue the family legacy. In fact, I studied International Relations at TUKS. I’m supposed to be dealing with diplomats and travelling the world! But when something is your destiny, it finds you.”

“My father put some honeycomb on a worn zinc plate ”

In 2015, she started informally selling Peter’s honey and “it just snowballed from there, taking on a life of its own”. She had already learnt the ropes from her dad, but in 2016 took a beginner’s beekeeping course at Beequip SA in Randburg, Johannesburg. In the same is the Sotho word for honey bee) was born. Her mother, Selaelo, also works with them (“she’s my father’s manager and the wind beneath Native Nosi’s wings!”) and, together, they are dedicated to producing pure, natural, unadulterated local honey products in harmony with nature.

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