NAPIER – As the land reform issue gained momentum late in 2018 something strange happened … 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 Business Report