We all assume that a bee is around you, is most likely to sting you. However in this case, it is the opposite. This week in this two parts series we get to hear all about a life in a beehive from the young champ who saw an opportunity in beekeeping. Meet Kearabetswe Moepi a boy who saw an opportunity in beekeeping, something alien of some sort in his region. Born in 2001on the 4th of June, to a family of 11 siblings and him being the 10th born. He grew up in a rural area called Marapyane in Mpumalanga province. In this Q&A Mr Moepi spoke to The Village Mag’s Melba Ramotse to discuss his business and how the idea it came about and also how he strives to ensure that this becomes fruition.
How it started and why bees?
The vision for bees started when I was in grade 12 (doing my matric) in 2019 when one of my sister met one of the biggest bee keepers in Africa. She was more than interested on them the problem was not having more enough time to focus on them. What happened is that she came back home and introduced the idea to me, as she knew I’m capable of doing anything.
What perceptions did it change?
Bees are a key player in the human food ecosystem. Depending on which numbers you believe, bees pollinate anywhere from a third to over half of all the food we eat. Most people do not realize that without bees, there is no food – conventional, organic or otherwise. We need bees more than ever and yet, we employ destructive agriculture practices that harm them including our excessive pesticides used. I took it as an advantage not thinking that I’m afraid of bees or how am I going to leave with them.
I just changed my thinking immediately because when you are in a good atmosphere you think positively; without even thinking twice. I grew up with a mindset of everything in life has some good and bad side and that if you do not take risks tomorrow will be the same as the previous days and because of that I did not want to see myself in that situation of life.
How did I make it work?
I knew no one will come and lift me up from where I am to the top, I had to do something. That’s when I started to attend school of bees around Pretoria at the same time during my matric. I attended classes and field work for a period of 2 months when my peers where going to school on weekend, I will be going to attend bee classes and my sister was my biggest sponsor and paying all my fees because it was a private institution. I managed to make it until I passed and received the certificate that shows I am allowed to work with bees because compliance is key in everything we do.
What obstacles did I face with beekeeping?
In order to make it in life the is no way you can walk on a smooth surface until you make it. I remember it was when I had to stand for myself because I was from training and I had to make it work. I had to find piece of land to put my beehives so they can harm no one. I went door in door out trying to find a way to get a land so I can be free in what I’m doing, until today I haven’t found one. I have squeezed my beehives in my uncles right field and I can’t work on my level best because of that, but I know one day tables will turn. So the unavailability of space is by far the biggest challenge I am facing right now, but I am optimistic.
Next week Kearabetswe Moepi will be telling us all about his products and more, stay tuned!