8 OCT 2020
“Often their lives aren’t pretty. Their farms aren’t glamorous. Their journeys are painful, and yet these up-and-coming and newly commercialised farmers are going above and beyond to feed the nation,” says Price.
“I always dreamed of becoming a farmer because I loved the farm,” says Mahlaba, who farms with his two grandsons. “Farming to me is like a disease that I was infected with. It’s a disease that I do not know where it came from.”
Mahlaba’s dream of owning land came true after he partnered with the VKG Group, an agricultural enterprise. VKB formally assigned farmer Coenraad Fick (62) as his mentor although the two have known each other since childhood. Mahlaba spent most of his career working for Fick’s father.
Potgieter has been actively involved in the upliftment of Black farmers since 1986 when his family was involved with the 1986 Ngotshe Cooperation Agreement in KwaZulu-Natal. In an earlier research article published by Gerhard Maré and Georgina Hamilton in the Journal of Natal and Zulu History, the accord is described as “a pact between rugged Afrikaner farmers, conservative to the bone, and skinclad Zulu men”.
“Doing development work in South African agriculture is like working for the welfare where you put in a lot, but don’t easily see success. But, for me, it is enough to know that I am doing the right thing by advancing farmers who haven’t had it easy in this country,” says Potgieter.
Food For Mzansi co-founder Kobus Louwrens, who produces the show in partnership with VKB, says: “We find and tell the stories of ordinary South Africans working together for a better future. The people in these stories choose to emphasis what they have in common rather than what divides them. They do so for the sake of their own prosperity and that of their communities. I find that enormously exciting because it shows nation building and personal growth in action, all for the love of the land.”
- Catch Vir die liefde van die land on Thursdays at 6pm on Via (DStv channel 147), with further repeats on Saturdays at 10.30am, Sundays at 8pm and Mondays at 8am. The show has English subtitles and was filmed in parts of the Free State, Western Cape and Limpopo.