10 farm workers vie for Agri’s Got Talent crown

Singing competition gives workers in fruit and wine industries an opportunity to shine

Not to be Missed

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South Africa, meet the top ten finalists in this year’s Agri’s Got Talent, straight from our farms and ready to perform for the coveted throne of the fruit and wine industry’s best virtuoso.

The competition’s organisers have announced the names of the agricultural workers that will compete in the final rounds of the event supported by the Vinpro Foundation, Citrus Growers’ Association, Hortgro and the Western Cape department of agriculture. With the exception of one budding singer, the remaining nine are all employed by farms in the Western Cape.

  • Maychen Manuel from Crispy Farming in Ceres;
  • Alicia Flink from Haygrove Haven in Hermanus;
  • Navan Hendricks from Elandsrivier Boerdery in Ceres;
  • Eudine von Voigt from Van Loveren in Robertson;
  • Roshdene Sampson from Sandhoek in Worcester;
  • Jacintha September from De Grendel in Malmesbury;
  • Bradwin Jonas from Rietfontein in Ceres;
  • Jenny Maarman from Diemerskraal in Wellington;
  • Francois Willemse from Rietfontein in Ceres; and
  • Sivenathi Ndzakiyi from CRI Citrus Foundation Block in Uitenhage.

Hortgro executive director Anton Rabe. Photo: Supplied

In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic and subsequent workplace regulations the format of this year’s competition has been amended. Instead of the annual glitzy affair, the competition will have a roadshow format.

Agri’s Got Talent is the brainchild of Hortgro executive director Anton Rabe. He says the social initiative, established in 2014, aims to celebrate the many talents of the workers who feed the nation.

Music knows no boundaries and builds bridges across all walks of life, he believes. “Agri’s Got Talent is about uniting people and showcasing and celebrating some of the most extraordinary talents. (Often) we, as an agriculture sector, are in the media for all the wrong reasons; mostly based on opportunistic and unfounded allegations. Agriculture is more than farming – it is about people. And we have amazingly talented people.”

Agri workers develop their singing talent

Jacomien de Klerk, general manager of the Citrus Growers’ Association’s Citrus Academy. Photo: Supplied

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Jacomien de Klerk, the general manager of the Citrus Growers’ Association’s Citrus Academy, says the competition goes beyond the old nursery rhyme of “Old Macdonald had a farm.” The annual competition gives farm, pack house and cellar workers in the fruit and wine industries a chance to develop their singing talent through an intensive programme with a vocal coach.

“Agri’s Got Talent is unique in that it gives an opportunity for people in the fruit and wine industries to shine, no matter who or where in the country they are. It celebrates all of our innate talent, and our ability to be joyful even in difficult times like these.”

Chief executive of the Vinpro Foundation, Caroline Poole, describes Agri’s Got Talent as an opportunity for the sector to celebrate and come together despite adversity during the covid-19 lockdown.

“For one night, as a community, we come together, and we celebrate (the talent) we have… There is a lot of in-fighting sometimes and a lot of strain and pain on the farms, but for one night, producers and workers come together to celebrate their champion.”

Watch some of last year’s top performances

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