EDITOR’S NOTE: Our task is to develop our country, give hope to our people

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CAPE TOWN – I want to wish Business Report (BR) readers a prosperous 2019. A year filled with hope, success, personal growth, good health and wealth creation.

Photo: The Executive Editor of Business Report at the Kindom Ambassador's Children's Village.

We, as editors of Independent Media, were addressed by our chairperson, Dr Iqbal Survé, last week.

Dr. Survé’s passion for South Africa and Africa, his loyalty and appreciation for each and every employee of Independent Media, as I said afterward to colleague Japhet Ncube, editor of The Star, “is contagious”.

Photo: The Executive Editor of Business Report and Live editor of Business Report, Sizwe Dlamini at the Kindom Ambassador's Children's Village.

“It is tough and difficult out there, the media industry is undergoing a structural decline, but it is not without hope. Our task is to develop our country, to invest in our people and in transformation, to give hope to our people,” said Dr Survé.

He doesn’t interfere with editorial matters but often urges us to write stories about people’s success, to profile young entrepreneurs and business leaders, to keep our eyes on the ball and to not get derailed by a perceptions war launched by competitors.

What is wealth creation? According to Dr Survé, it is a means of “creating a better world”.

His address to all editors across South Africa and Africa was on point: South Africa is not without hope, and our articles and stories should reflect that. BR will continue to deliver quality and informative business personal finance content to our print and online readers in 2019.

Photo: Live editor of Business Report, Sizwe Dlamini at the Kindom Ambassador's Children's Village.

The BR team consists of young, dynamic and passionate journalists and editors, with the likes of Kabelo Khumalo, Sizwe Dlamini, Dineo Faku, Sandile Mchunu, Luyolo Mkentane, Given Majola, Joseph Booysen, Banele Ginindza, Gabriella Steyn, Dhivana Rajgopaul and Vernon Pillay under the leadership of Sechaba ka’Nkosi, Philippa Larkin, Roy Cokayne and Martin Hesse.

I mention the BR and Personal Finance team purposely. This lean team consists of black, white, Indian and coloured contributors, striving towards a single objective, sharing messages of hope to our readers, utilising all our platforms, informing our stakeholders on matters of importance.

Something strange happened last week. While I was waiting to meet Dr Survé, I met Dr Wallace Mgoqi, Commissioner for Gender Equality and Acting Judge: Land Claims Court. We spoke about BR’s vision and my passion for orphans.

“I am looking for good news stories, Wallace.” Dr Mgoqi told me about his involvement in Agri Dwala, a BEE farming initiative under the leadership of Kosie van Zyl.

I asked for Van Zyl’s details and called him on the spot. “I would like to come and visit your farm and hear your story; does Saturday suit you,” I asked. He agreed to meet me and the BR Live Editor.

Van Zyl’s story goes back to 1995 when the neighbouring farmer called him and offered to sell him his farm and even offered to lend him the money to buy the farm.

Growing up as the son of a farm manager on Fairfield, between Caledon and Napier in the Overberg district, where they grow wheat, barley, oats and raise livestock, this was a dream came true for Van Zyl.

As a Christian, he wanted to give something back, and a few years later Agri Dwala was born. Twenty-nine emerging farmers formed a company, rented communal land from Napier municipality and started farming. Today these farmers own their own farms, equipment, livestock and a guest house.

We were welcomed by two children on Farm Hansieskloof on Saturday. I later learnt that they are foster children. After a more than two-hour meeting (it was more a story sharing session), we were invited to the kitchen to have some home-baked bread, farm butter, green figs and cheese. We said grace and I asked Liezel van Zyl about their children.

“We adopted them, we started a foster home and a school on the farm two years ago. We now have 57 orphans, ranging between one and 17 years old,” she proudly said.

Needless to say, I wanted to see the school and meet the children. The pictures tell the story. Dlamini asked them to scream “peanuts” before we took the pictures. We drove back late on Saturday, knowing that we’ve received more than a good news story. We’ve experienced what wealth creation is all about. The BR Live Editor will write the business success story. Van Zyl will be launching his book soon, sharing his journey.

The purpose of my editor’s note is to support Dr Survé’s vision of hope, of creating a better world.

This article first appeared on IOL