Nhlanhla Mbonane is excited to be trading at a local supermarket. Local ‘spinach man’ bags juicy supermarket deal Once known for his talents as a gospel singer, Nhlanhla Mbonane 31, now has a new nickname ‘the spinach man’ after his spinach garden became a booming success, landing him a profitable deal with Madadeni Boxer Store. Mbonane said the idea of growing spinach came about when he and his friends noticed an open area nearby a school in Section 7 Celani Primary School and thought it was the perfect place to plant a vegetable garden so they decided to grow spinach. “We approached the school and expressed to them we would love to use their back yard for planting which we said would benefit the school and the community at large. The school agreed and we started growing spinach,” revealed Mbonane.

Leading the project, Mbonane said his first crop of spinach, planted last year, died because at first there was not much rain but then later his crop flooded. He admitted his lack of experience further exacerbated the issue. Despite being disappointed, he persevered. Soon his efforts attracted the attention of an experienced farmer, Ayanda Zulu, who kindly imparted her insights, advice and expertise. “Ayanda was very helpful and we are grateful to her for sharing her knowledge. She told us we didn’t need a lot of money to start the business and we must keep pushing forward, no matter what. We now know what seeds to buy, chemicals to use and how to water it properly because spinach needs care,” said Mbonane. Mbonane started his farming endeavour again this year but this time he had garnered enough knowledge to see the fruits of his labour. Soon he started selling spinach to the Madadeni community. While his business grew, he approached a few supermarkets to sell his spinach.

“Many rejected me until I went to Madadeni Boxer store. They were excited to accept me. They told me they are always willing to support local businesses and we began providing spinach to the store from this month October ,” said Mbonane excitedly. Mbonane said he is extremely proud his spinach business can now also provide for the school, the first place that dared to take a chance on him and who welcomed him so warmly. Nhlanhla Mbonane is proud to see his spinach business grow.