Growing up as a young girl, Ms. Thifheli Kutama was surrounded by agricultural area. She was inspired by watching her elders at home growing crops, vegetables, fruit trees, and keeping domestic livestock. Her maternal grandfather Mr. Aaron Netshisaulu was one of the first extension officers in Mutale. Ms. Kutama was born and bred in Thengwe, Mulodi village. After completing her matric at Thengwe High School, she decided to study Agriculture Animal Science at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). She said “ it was a choice that came as a shock to my peers because agriculture was never considered a first-choice career by many people in our ethnic group, particularly women. 

With her national diploma under her belt, she proceeded to Elsenburg Research Farm in Stellenbosch where she did her experiential training and afforded an opportunity to build a solid foundation and real-life experience in Agriculture. 

In 2000 Ms. Kutama started working at the University of Venda as a Laboratory Technician in the Department of Plant Production. With the exposure to academics and research, while she was working, she continued with her studies and published two papers in a peer-reviewed journal. She holds a B. Agric Hon, specialising in Weed Science, Bachelor of Technology in Agriculture Management, and a National Diploma in Animal Science. She is currently doing her Masters’ degree working on Indigenous plants. Having studied both Plant and Animal Science, afforded her an opportunity to work as an Experimental Farm Manager. The experimental farm serves as a field laboratory where students can put into practice the theoretical knowledge that they have learned in the classroom. 

Her driving force to be where she is today, is based on her passion to assist other people, particularly students, the opportunity to teach, share information, transfer skills, impact lives, and ensure that the information that is researched is beneficial to the community by organising events such as Farmers’ Day. She said that ‘’it was an intentional decision to choose agriculture. I am now beyond thrilled because I get to change people’s lives, make an impact, and contribute to food security’’. Ms Kutama continues to strive in her field by enriching herself and other people. 

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 26 August 2022 

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