Occupation: Farmer, Conservationist, and Activist
Status: Single mother evicted from her land upon her father’s death.
Meet Rebeca Mabui. Rebeca is a 55 year old farmer from the Maputo province of Mozambique. Following her husband’s death, Rebeca lost all of her belongings to her deceased husband’s family. With few options left for her and her children, Rebeca returned to live with her parents where she eventually inherited a plot of land which she now calls her own.
Rebeca learned traditional methods of working the soil from her parents. “I use ecological agriculture which I was taught by my parents. At the time we didn’t know our practice was ecological. This form of agriculture teaches me to care for the land and this way I’ll leave it to my children and grandchildren. I get almost everything from the land depending on the season. I keep the seeds for the following season, I sell part of the harvest to send my children to school and we keep the rest for our consumption,” she says.
When she returned to her parent’s area, Rebeca became a member of the Mozambican Rural Women’s Forum where she learned new sustainable agricultural practices. “I learned to not slash and burn the land and to collect the grass which can help fertilise the land.”
The arrival of new agribusiness investments have presented many challenges for women in rural Mozambique. Rebeca describes,
“in the past the greatest challenge of rural women was low education, but today with agribusinesses the challenges have increased. The fact is that rural women are not prepared to cohabit with agribusinesses. When they arrive, they occupy great swaths of land. As such, rural women need to be prepared to understand the legislation, and master the Land Law in order to know how to deal with the new investments”.
Despite the challenges, Rebeca notes that rural women have been able to unite and resist unwanted pressures from the agribusinesses. She credits the training she received through the forum for uniting her with other women in the area, raising her political consciousness, and exposing her to further agricultural training.
For her, land means more than a simple plot. “Land means life because it feeds me today and in the future because I’ll bequeath it to my grandchildren. Land is my identity, it’s my life because it is a cultural right which we pass from generation to generation and through the land and seeds, we share our culture with other generations and the world”, she adds.