Zikhona Bali introduces herself as a farmer-actress after buying 150 chickens with stokvel payout

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Zikhona Bali on farming to leave a legacy for generational wealth.
Zikhona Bali on farming to leave a legacy for generational wealth.

She's always wanted to be a farmer, but she had no idea where to start.

Her farming journey officially started in July but agriculture has always been in her genes, the actress tells Drum.

Award-winning actress Zikhona Bali, popularly known for her character, Asanda, in Diep City on Mzansi Magic, opens up about her two loves: acting and farming.

"Funny enough I am from elokshin but my grandfather used to have chickens and I used to hate those chickens because ke sana in the morning they were on the windows clucking, and I used to be scared of them. 

"They weren't broilers but imileqwa, so for me they were kind of aggressive. I didn't necessarily like chickens, I wasn't interested. But I always had this idea of buying my grandmother a cow.

"You know in our culture there's is that tradition that when someone dies they should be accompanied with a cow. So I didn't want to do that for my grandmother when she has already passed on. I said 'I want to buy her a cow now', while she is still alive. I wanted to fuya and not slaughter it."

Zikhona tells us her dream of becoming a cattle farmer was sparked by a conversation she had with her former colleague.

"He used to speak about his family farm and after I heard that his father does cattle farming I was, like, 'I need to speak to his dad, I need to ask for his number, I have to call him to ask about cattle'." 

She says it was not that easy. It took a year for her to finally break the ice and speak about her dreams.

"It happened that his father, uBaba Muntu Zwane, ended up working as a director on Diep City. I asked to speak to him during lunch one day."

"I told him bhut' Muntu, this is the idea that I have. I want to venture into cattle farming so I want to buy a cow, you maintain it, I pay for the maintenance, yes?'

"'And his reply was, 'Okay I hear you but how about you start with chickens?'

"So he took me to a farm and introduced me to people and I was so happy, then thought why not?

That's when she took money from her stokvel to buy 150 chickens to start selling.

Read more | 'I started with only 20 chickens' - How Mpumalanga woman gave up chasing criminals for farming

"We used to play stokvel at work and a friend eavesdropped on the conversation I had with bhut' Muntu about chickens. She was so excited and said, 'I also want in!' We then became partners. I took money from the stokvel and made an investment into the business."

Zikhona Bali
Zikhona Bali's healthy chickens from her farm.
Zikhona Bali
Zikhona Bali's chicken packages.

She says she found a farm in the south of Joburg and sells chickens from there. 

"I am renting the farm with the idea and long-term goal of getting funds from the government. I also want to collaborate with other farmers so that we can grow together."

She tells us that her fans and followers received her farming journey very well.

"I have reintroduced myself as a chicken farmer actress," she giggles.

"I had such a warm reception, people have been recieving me very well. They have been encouraging me because you woke up every day and I'm not even over exerggarating especailly now its our turn to sell and I have to put myself out there. I was saying to a friend that with social media its easier to raise the card that 'I am a public figure and I have followers' but people will encourage you and wish you well but not a lot of them will actually order."

Read more | Farming without arms – how Sibusiso Mogale farms chickens, vegetables using only his feet

Zikhona reveals she is taking a backseat with acting. In fact, she just finished shooting a movie for the streaming service Netflx. 

"I had to move differently because in South Africa as artists we don't have money. And there's also an element were you have to work for six months and then be out of work for like a year and six months, now you on the waiting zone.

"Being where I am in my career, future and age wise, I don't want to be taking jobs that I don't want because I need money, so stepping into business will also give me a legacy and take care of my family."

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