Mo Molemi on the Covid-19 frontline: This moment vindicates my decision to become a farmer
Rapper-turned-farmer Motlapele “Mo Molemi” Morule turned his back on the mic at the peak of his music career to follow his dream of becoming a farmer.
Now, as the country finds itself in the grips of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, the star is on the frontline - and he feels his decision to leave the spotlight is finally justified.
“This very moment vindicates my decision to become a farmer. When I left rap music to dedicate myself to farming, there were many questions. I always knew that a hip-hop career is short, but this will carry me for life,” he told TshisaLIVE.
“At this moment, my peers are at home wondering where they will get their next gig and making Instagram videos; I am working and transforming my brand. After Covid-19, Mo Molemi will no longer be a rapper but a serious businessman.”
The former Morafe rapper has spent the last decade growing his fresh produce brand. He joined a development programme providing food to hospitals and prisons in the Free State. Now, through his company Arable Parable, he supplies food to sites in the North West where the state is housing people under quarantine and for food hampers distributed across the country.
“I am also running an online delivery service to supply food for those in need. Any surplus food at the end of a week, I package and give to destitute families free of charge. This is my call of duty. I am a farmer but I am a human first. When the president called on us to help, I put my hand up because we don’t know when this will end,” he said.
'I am always scared of catching the disease while I am still out there.'
Being on the frontline has been rewarding for Molemi, but he revealed that his biggest concern is contracting the coronavirus and infecting his children.
“I am always scared of catching the disease while I am still out there. Not so much for myself but I worry about going back to my wife and kids. Exposing them to this is what worries me the most. I always tell them that people have lived through world wars and lived in bunkers, the least we can do is stay indoors during lockdown.”
Molemi employs 10 people under his mentorship, including three students from the Taung Agricultural College in the North West and one graduate from North West University.
After previously speaking about the difficulties of farming in South Africa, including red tape which makes it difficult for emerging farmers to get a share of the market, he says he makes about 30% net profit at the moment and has seen an acceleration of his business since the pandemic started.
'I wish Jabba was here to see this'
One of his deepest wishes is that his late friend HHP was here to see him fulfil the dream they had both spoken about.
“I wish Jabba was here to see this. We spoke about this many times - he could see it, he could feel it, he could touch it. He wanted this for me and I want to repay that faith he had in me,” he said.
“I have been encouraging my peers [in the hip-hop industry] to follow my example and join me in agriculture.”
Molemi is a firm believer that people shouldn't wait for land redistribution or government intervention. “There are a lot of opportunities if you are creative. A lot of the industry is digital, or going digital. You don’t even need your own land to access the food business.
“The industry is big enough to accommodate anyone. People need to take up their space now.”