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Entertainment - Date: 12 September 2020
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“Covid-19 has taught us that depending on one stream of income is very dangerous and deadly. I had to come up with something meaningful to make money, because my music career has been destroyed by this worldwide pandemic.”
These are the words of famous gospel star Mpho Ragimana, who goes by the stage name Poroza. He has swapped his precious microphone for dirty work suits and soiled boots. Ragimana has ventured into crop farming for the first time in his life to make ends meet.
“I never thought I would one day become a farmer, because my music career was shining. With the declaration of the coronavirus lockdown, I could no longer perform and move around to distribute my music. The music industry mostly depends on crowds, and it became a big setback when people were not allowed to converge at once. One day as I was sitting alone, thinking, I decided that I could do something with our ancestral piece of land that had not been used for a while. The land is fertile, and it was readily available as a family property. That was where the idea of farming came to mind,” said Ragimana, who stays at Tshithuthuni village in the Thengwe area.
Ragimana said he had some financial challenges when he wanted to start his farming project in May. “I had some savings from my music sales, and these came in very handy during the needy time. I also explained to my mother, Dakalo Ragimana, about my farming plans and she supported my vision with some financial assistance. Although it was difficult to get down as a budding farmer, I had to read many books, (do) research, and seek knowledge from other established farmers. To date, I have planted 5 000 cabbages, a lot of butternuts and sweet potatoes.”
The gospel-star-turned-farmer said although he was getting water from the natural wells near his farm, he was planning to save money to drill for reliable groundwater. “I will be harvesting in two months’ time, and I will save the money for a water project. I heaved a sigh of relief when the rains fell last week, because this boosted my crops, which are now looking very healthy. Farming is my new way of life, and I will have to adapt to my new way of earning a living.”
He has a strong message to other musicians who only depend on music to survive: “I urge my fellow artists to start something to earn a living. Even a very small business will go a long way in keeping the wolf away from the door. We cannot allow Covid-19 to dictate life for us, but we can draw many lessons from the pandemic, including the fact that it has taught us to be creative and have a second plan to survive when our lives are disrupted.”
The impact of Covid-19 in the entertainment industry has forced gospel music star Mpho Poroza Ragimana to venture into crop farming at his home village of Tshithuthuni in the Thengwe area.