By Guest Blogger - Calvern Kuziyamisa
Many a time we look beyond our borders for extraordinary people, inspiring stories & phenomenal individuals making a difference and positively influencing the lives of those around them and thus enriching their own lives. Governments and Corporates alike are willing to spend millions travelling across the globe searching for models that they can copy and use to better their performances. More often than not, such amazing people are close to us. We live with them. It’s just that we do not bother to turn an inquisitive lens towards these exceptional South Africans.
On Tuesday, Di Smith asked me to accompany her to a meeting at a farm in the Mooi River area. We met Judy Stuart from Future Farmers and the Director of Milk SA, Godfrey Rathwogwa. We traveled together to Vrystaat Farm to meet with Cliffie Egberink. Cliffie has bettered the lives of the farming community in the area and has developed a successful business model where business, labourers and the government are working together.
Successful Model of Farming
When we arrived at Vrystaat Farm, Cliffie warmly received us and over a cup of tea Godfrey was able to ask Cliffie about his successful model of farming. Godrey is looking to implement Cliffie’s business model into the dairy industry.
Cliffie said he had been touched by the plight of the local people, who worked hard and yet earned meagre wages and end up battling to put food on their tables. He knew that he had to get government support. Echoing the words of Clem Sunter that, ‘one doesn’t need to own a farm to become a successful farmer” Cliffie told us that he had sold his farm to the government and establish a business called Agrivest.
The farm workers hold 70% of the shares and Cliffie holds 30% of Agrivest. Cliffe’s approach encompasses being open hearted, having integrity, being honest, non-racial and his love of farming. Cliffie has the vision of creating a better future for all South Africans.
Cliffe was convinced that if had to achieve anything significant in farming he had to hold hands with the labourers with whom he works. As Judy Stuart from Future Farmers so rightly said “He had to gain their trust through dissolving racial barriers and working together with one another.
The hatred and mistrust between white South African farmers and their employees runs deep. It’s based on generations of ill feelings and a complete lack of communication and empathy with each other.”
Developed a Perfect Model Called Agrivest
Cliffie was finding problems in bringing the government on board. With the assistance of Di Smith from Awesome SA he was able to get a hearing at the highest level of Government in KwaZulu-Natal and thus developed the perfect model called Agrivest, where community, business and government are working together.
Cliffie with his business called Agrivest, Judy as a civilian who founded Future Farmers and Godfrey, a government representative from Milk SA are a great example of business, civil society and government working together for a better future for South Africa.
“Our differences are our strength as a species and as a world community.” – Nelson Mandela upon receiving the Franklin D.Roosevelt four freedoms award, 8 June 2002.