Now if you clicked on this article just because of the title then I have already achieved what I set out to do and that is for you to hear what I have to say.
I know very little about farming. I tried a few times starting a little vegetable patch just to see it smother away into an abyss of decay and nothingness. My father had green fingers. My fingers were made for fixing things.
I grew up in the countryside of South Africa. A few years living in Bitterfontein and then we moved to Loeriesfontein and then a few years after that my folks settled in Fraserburg. My father worked for Telkom and we had the opportunity to travel a lot as his skill set was needed in the small towns that were still not fully automated into the country’s phone network. In each one of those towns I’ve made so many precious memories and in due time I will tell you all about it, but for now, I would really like to shed light on a topic that I don’t know much about. I know enough, however, to say with absolute certainty, that without South Africa’s farming industry the country would be worth nothing. It would be barren, polluted and stripped of its natural resources. A joke.
Those who know what it is like growing up in a small town would understand when I say that entertainment is not something that falls on your lap in a town like Loeriesfontein. You have to make your own. Therefore every other weekend I went to visit my friends on their farm. Because that is where all the action was of course. Oh, the amazing things we’ve seen! All the cliff jumps, the swimming, hiking…the WORKING! Yes, you read that right. Hard work like you would not believe. Walking ten miles a day just to collect one or two sheep that wandered off. Five of those ten miles involved running after them to make sure they stay on course to join the main herd. Shepherding them into pens to get them dipped for lice and fleas. This was only part of it. On other weekends we had to collect a few hundred sheep into a pen and then catch all the lambs and herd them into separate pens. At the time we had to fight off caracals (Rooikat) and jackals as they like to prey on the little ones.
Sometimes we would join Anna’s dad on his tractor to one of the fields where we would have to walk miles planting seeds for the following years harvest. The only food we would see was breakfast then we’ll be back in time for dinner. Sheep’s head baked slowly the whole day in an antique Aga stove. Trust me, if you’re not a big afval eater, a meal like that will seem like a dish from heaven at the end of a days work on an African farm.
It was by candlelight, around a big wooden table, where I’ve learned the value of the Boer. The selfless sacrifice that he makes every day. Not just for his family but for all the families that work on his farm. The commitment during times of drought, flooding, plague and when things are just tough because they can be. They would wake up every morning at 04:00 am to milk the cows, feed the sheep and start the Aga stove so that breakfast can be ready before the rest of the work has to start. It is how they get the momentum going for the day’s hard work. It is not just a choice, but a skillset. One that is not taught, but rather a skill that you inherit, from your father. Who got it from his father…who inherited it from his father.
The way I see it. If Africa was a human body and the rivers and the animals its limbs, then the people who take care of that body would be the heart. The people working the land. Nurturing it. You cannot take something if you do not give something back. A farmer cannot keep taking from his own land, without replanting for the next harvest. Whenever I switch on the news, all I see is people who want to take from my country. No one wants to give back. Too many people are in denial of this. That is why the economy is failing. Not because of bad people, but because of good people who do nothing.
Looking back from where I am now, I realise, that even though I am not a Boer, the little wisdom that I learned from the time I spent with them played a vital part in the man I am today. I would always find myself thinking back and remembering Anna’s father pushing the shovel into the dirt, ploughing it over, dropping the seeds and then looking up to see where to plant next…blistered hands wiping the sweat from his brow.
For a great Facebook page to follow please visit BOER
“Die blad gaan oor om positiewe plasings rakende Boerdery by die publiek uit te kry in die moeilike politiese omstandighede. Net om so bietjie die BOER asook publiek te laat vergeet van die negatiewe elemente en vir ‘n oomblik op ‘n daaglikse basis na positiewe artikels te kyk. Ook om kennis by die boer te kry oor verwante boerdery tegnieke , toerusting en idees.
Tweedens om die groter publiek bietjie van boerdery te leer – om die waarde van boerdery te vestig by die publiek en baie mense leer dat melk regtig nie net sommer uit ‘n fabriek kom nie , maar uit ‘n siklus wat ‘n groot invloed het op elke sektor van die ekonomie.
Geen negatiewe of politiese aanmerkings word toegelaat nie – al brand ‘n paar mense en ek self ook om direkte opmerkings te maak.
Die BOER is die beroep waarna soveel smag, hetsy sy beroep, grond of werksure , maar deur bietjie van die swaar te deel verander baie mense se opinie en verkies om terug te staan.
BOERDERY is soos swangerskap – Die BOER moet plant en saai en dan vir 9 maande hom kommer oor sy opbrengs en die risiko’s bestuur en na omsien om ‘n kosbare oes op te lewer. Soms gaan die “oes” verlore en soms voel die BOER om nie weer te plant nie , maar na die “opbrengs” is die liefde weer daar.”