Growing up on his family’s farm in Schaapkraal, Philippi it was Tawfeeq Brinkhuis’ job to collect freshly laid eggs, and nurture and feed the chickens along with his siblings. Now the 25-year old’s family-run farm, Chamomile Farming, is laying the golden eggs.
Brinkhuis is one of six children raised by the legendary Achmat and Wadea Brinkhuis who started farming just outside of Cape Town in 2005. Their accolades include the Top Female Producer for Informal Markets in the Western Cape awarded to Wadea in 2008, whilst Tawfeeq was recently announced as the Durbanville Regional Prestige Agri Worker.
“After we collected all the eggs and graded them by size, we would take the unusable eggs and throw each other with them,” says Brinkhuis, reminiscing about his childhood.
He attended Southfield Primary School in Cape Town’s southern suburbs and in 2008 he went on to memorize the Holy Quran at the Al Ameen Hafith Institute in the city. He describes studying the Quran, the central religious text of Islam, as a great reward in the Muslim community. In 2011 he matriculated through a night school, Die Duine Adult Learning Centre in Lotus River.
As a teenager Brinkhuis farmed as a chore, but his passion for farming and the industry grew gradually. In 2012 he was officially employed by his eldest brother, Nabeel, to assist in the vegetable division on the family farm.
Brinkhuis says, however, that his true desire for farming lies in animal production, which started in 2014 when he was entrusted with 11 600 chickens in a fully automated chicken house. Working in animal production was admittedly challenging, but it helped to keep good records to reference when he started.
“My dream is to expand our egg production considerably in the near future. I believe that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.”
Brinkhuis, who now works as the manager of the poultry division at Chamomile Farming, says working with his mother, Wadea, has been beneficial as she is a successful businesswoman from whom he was able to learn so much over the years. His mother is still involved in the business and runs the administrative division. He says knowing that his mom has his best interests at heart helps in the challenging corporate times.
Brinkhuis recently won the Durbanville Regional Prestige Agri Worker award and says winning this award was life-changing. He did not expect it, considering that approximately 1 300 agri-workers entered the competition. “This award was motivation for me to work towards becoming the Prestige Agri overall worker of the year in the upcoming year, God willing.”
His dream now is to expand his egg production considerably in the near future as he believes that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.