Exploring honey in South Africa I spoke with Mokgadi the woman behind Native Nosi. In an industry that is predominantly white and male Mokgadi at just 31 years of age is striding out and breaking convention. She is also building a healthy business creating interesting blends like avocado and macadamia honey. She does this through pollination and by ‘chasing the harvest’. Working with local farmers, she moves her hives through the seasons to obtain different yield.
Native Nosi is based near Tzaneen ( (which means gathering place in Northern Sotho) its in the Limpopo region of South Africa, a garden town and fertile area near to Kruger Park. Mokgadi’s bees forage here and in Gauteng and the North Western areas of South Africa. She learned a lot from her father growing up and she bought her father out of the business a few years ago. He continues to inspire and mentor her as the business grows. She currently has 108 hives which she projects will grow to 360 hives by early 2019 as she responds to demand.
So what did Mokgadi have to say about:
Native Nosi combines the English and Basotho words. Our story is local and honest and our honey is pure and raw (native) and the Basotho meaning for honey bees (nosi).
The beekeeping process?
At different times of the year there are different crops so we move the hives to be close to orange blossom and citrus in the winter, the ‘avos’ in the spring and sunflowers in the summer.
Whats most rewarding working with bees?
Working with farmers and the realisation that having bees on their land improves yield for them. Its rewarding to see the benefits. For example, 2kgs of avo’s can increase to 5kgs when bees are around and pollination is in process. Bees are job creators and they affect food change multiplying food, infact bees affect every living organism and provide benefits. They deserve respect and not only in nature as they potentially provide extra income to farmers.
It can be lonely. Being a young black female in a predominantly older, white, male environment can be isolating. You are constantly learning as a beekeeper and figuring things out so its important to be able to share your problems and your ideas with others in the same industry. Hopefully this will get better as the industry changes. I’m lucky its a family business so i have my husband, sister and father supporting me.
The taste profile of avocado honey?
Its dark in colour and rich in taste. I add sunflower or bleugum or acacia to lighten it. Bees can travel up to 5-8km so you might also pick up other tones like butternut or litchi depending on the time of year and location.
Thanks to Mokgadi for sharing her story it was great to speak with someone who not only has passion and dedication for what she does but humour as well. All this goes into her practice producing pure raw honey and inspiring others to do the same whether as a hobby or as a career.
Interview and post by guest writer Suzanne Radford