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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Mosiea finds silver lining by diversifying from Top Runner to farmer

As the Coronavirus pandemic tightens its grip and sporting events are canceled around the globe, many South African runners are struggling to make ends meet in the absence of races. But Phalang Mosiea has managed to find light in the darkness. The 31-year-old who stays in KwaMpumuza just outside Pietermaritzburg, decided to dust off his agricultural skills in order to support his mother.

He says farming has been close to his heart since his high school days. "Even before the lockdown hit in March last year, I had already planned to do farming as it is something I love," explains Mosiea

Phalang Mosiea loading his fresh produce for delivery. Photo Credit: Mthandeni Nene.

"I love farming so much that I even enrolled in a short year course which I finished in 2014. And as races get cancelled I saw a need to put my skills to the test to feed my family. Luckily, I had identified a piece of land that was fenced in, which I always spotted while I was training. I tracked down the owner and we made a deal. Then I started to grow Cabbages in it," says the man who recently joined Maxed Elite Running Club.

Mosiea's initiative is beginning to reap rewards because he has already supplied local stores around Piermaritzburg including Spar Superstore, with his produce. "I was supplying the Spar in Selgro with 200 cabbages every week. I approached them to make a deal and they agreed. So every Monday I was supplying them, plus I had local supermarkets ordering from me. But the major problem is that I don't have my own land," he said.

Mosiea's coach Nene who is himself an avid agriculturalist, survey's his athlete's work. Photo Credit: Mthandeni Nene.

He thinks having his own land will make things easier in the future. "To use someone else's land isn't good. You see, I had stopped because he needed to grow maize meal. But I'll resume again now. But I notified Spar about the whole process and we have been communicating well with them. They even check on how far I am now. If I can get the land then I would go far," he said hopefully.

The athlete is managed by Mthandeni Nene, who also in charge of former African 50k champ Sanelisiwe Mbanjwa. Nene believes that athletes should find other ways of generating income because a sports career is usually short.

Mosiea (left) in action during the 2018 Mandela Marathon. Photo Credit: Xolani Mabhida.

" CoronaVirus showed the other side of things," Mosiea elaborates. "As athletes, we can't rely on running. Sports is something we fell in love with along the way, but I'm sure we all have that profession that we were eager to pursue from a very young age. So I urge all athletes to stretch their minds to feed their families. Look at me, I have managed to gain from a skill I obtained a long time ago."

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