Home News It took him 50 years to grow from labourer to farmer

It took him 50 years to grow from labourer to farmer

In episode 1 of "Vir die liefde van die land" viewers meet Samson Mahlaba, a former labourer who achieved his dream of farming commercially with VKB

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The wait for Mzansi’s much-anticipated, brand-new agricultural TV show is almost over and viewers are in for a treat. That’s right, only a few hours remain on the countdown-clock before the first episode of Vir die liefde van die land (“For the love of the land”) starts on Thursday at 18:00.

Viewers can look forward to sinking their teeth into the DStv show which sees award-winning TV host Ivor Price and Piet Potgieter, manager: developing agriculture at VKB, introduce the nation to agriculture’s unsung heroes.

In the first episode they cast anchor in the small maize, wheat and cattle farming town of Reitz in the Free State where they meet the 73-year-old Samson Mahlaba. The passionate livestock and crop farmer went from labourer to farm owner – a dream, he shares with viewers, that took more than 50 years to materialise.

Snippets from a decades-long farming journey

Mahlaba has wanted to farm since before the dawn of democracy. For five decades, though, he first toiled with heart as an agricultural worker for Fick en Seuns Boerdery in Reitz. Only five years ago, after he retired, his dream of farming independently came true.

Piet Potgieter, VKB’s manager: developing agriculture, co-hosts “Vir die liefde van die land” with award-winning television presenter Ivor Price.

The ten-episode Vir die liefde van die land series is proudly presented by Food For Mzansi in collaboration with the VKB Group and WYRD Films.

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It will be broadcast at Thursday at 18:00 on VIA, DStv channel 147, with further repeats on Saturdays at 10:30, Sundays at 20:00 and Mondays at 08:00. 

“I always dreamed of becoming a farmer because I loved the farm,” Mahlaba says in tonight’s moving episode. “Farming to me is like a disease that I was infected with. It’s a disease that I do not know where it came from.”

We also meet Mahlaba’s farming mentor…

Coenraad Fick, a Free State farmer and mentor to Samson Mahlaba. Image: WYRD Films

Also in the show, Mahlaba introduces viewers to his mentor farmer, Coenraad Fick, who shares more about their decade-long journey. The two first met in 1966 when Mahlaba started working on Fick’s father’s farm. At the time, Fick was just nine years old and Mahlaba is 11 years his senior.

According to Fick, who is also a farmer who serves on the VKB board of directors, he always knew that Mahlaba would succeed in farming. Fick says, “He knows livestock farming and loves it very much. My dad always said that Samson knew well in advance that the cattle were going to be sick for about three days.”

…and VKB talks about investing in new era farmers

Koos van Rensburg, VKB’s managing director.
Koos van Rensburg, VKB’s managing director. Photo: Supplied

Also featured in this episode is the managing director of the VKB Group, Koos Janse Van Rensburg, who explains why the VKB group chooses to invest in the future of agriculture.

He also talks about the complexities of farming, and why it is imperative for commercial farmers to partner with new era farmers. “A new farmer starts with off with an uphill battle if he does not have all the facets under control, so then someone has to help him.”

To assist new era farmers, VKB has a dedicated agricultural development department which is managed by Potgieter, the co-host of the television show. Their focus is on helping farmers with skills development, access to new information and technology and developing them into commercial farmers.

  • Catch episode 1 of Vir die liefde van die land on Thursday, 8 October 2020 at 18:00 on VIA, DStv channel 147. Further repeats are on Saturdays at 10:30, Sundays at 20:00 and Mondays at 08:00.

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Duncan Masiwa
Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.
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