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Fairhills Sports Day Rocks!

7 Nov

The annual Sport Day of the Fairhills Fairtrade Wine Project was held on Saturday 6 November 2010 at the Brandvlei Sportsgrounds in Rawsonville. It is the undisputed highlight on the calendar for the Fairhills Community. The exuberance and excitement that characterizes this day is something you can only grasp when you experience 1200 people cheering for their teams, first hand. Hamilton Pharaoh, a lecturer at the Physiotherapy Department of the University of the Western Cape was a special guest at this event. After a very first excited SMS reading: “Sportdag ruk! (Sports Day rocks!), this is what he had to say:

“Sport has been one of the biggest building blocks in societies all over the world. Even more so in South Africa as sport became a medium for black communities to unite in the Apartheid days. A medium that made people forget about all that is not so good and just enjoy the moments that make heroes of ordinary people on the sports field.

Today I see faces smiling, happy and proud of who they are, where they come from and dare I say it, a future worth dreaming of for generations to come. I see a field of colour as participants today identify themselves with T-shirts and banners depicting the farm they come from.

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The words of the MC Suisi Pieterse struck home: “Ons kan skeppend wees”/”We can be creative. As a proud South African this is what I dream of. People who don’t just talk but make the effort to improve the lives of those who play such an important role in building the farms that produce the products that are exported all over the world.   A sentiment that was echoed by the speaker for the day Claud V. Schroeder, Executive  Director: Rural and Social Development Cape Winelands District Municipality: “People all over the world enjoy the fruits of the hard labour, early hours, late nights that farm workers put in every day. Be proud of what you accomplish every day.”

Today, I don’t see farm workers! I see faces full of hope, kids dancing to our World Cup dance anthem, Waka Waka, smiling . . . happy. The dream continues, it is indeed their time to shine…

Hamilton Pharaoh was physiotherapist to the SA Sevens (2001-2002) and SA u/21 physio 2004-2006


Fairhills enables opening of health center for community

24 Oct

6 October 2010 was indeed a very happy day. After months of planning and building, the El Martillo Clinic was opened. This partnership between the community of Martillo, Fairhills Argentina and the Municipality of Junín was initiated on 9 February 2010. The opening was attended by dignitaries and proud community members. At last, they could look forward to proper, regular health care. The El Martillo Health Center is another example of Fairtrade adding dignity to people’s lives.

Read the article on the construction of the clinic here.

Glamour night at Fairhills

28 Sep

The Youth Club of Fairhills held a Modeling Show for the second year in a row on 20 August. Like last year preparations started months before. A lot was expected of this evening as initiatives such as these are important to the Fairhills community. It provides young people in the project with socially uplifting activities.

Two dress rehearsals were held in the week before the final show to make sure everything would go smoothly on the big night. For some of them it was fun, but some participants had a mixture of excitement and a lot of nerves. “Yes, I am excited. I can’t wait for everything to get started,” said Rozanne Willemse, one of the contestants, just managing to keep her nerves under control.

Eighteen girls and thirteen boys took part in the competition. Gavin Fourie was the master of ceremonies of the night and by all accounts did a good job. Gavin was also the entertainer for the night because the booked performer cancelled on the day of the show. Apart from his performance a group of young kids from the community had the audience on their toes with their funky dance move’s.

Meagan Smith, Charlet Moses, and Charme Mandy were the jugdes for the night. “For us as judges it was not an easy task to perform, because all the contestants gave their best and all of them looked so beautiful. We could not make a decision, but finally we came to an agreement,” said Charme Mandy.

The winners of 2010 Mr and Ms Fairhills were Ingrid McPherson and her brother Jonathan McPherson. “I could not believe it when I heard that I won this year’s competition,” said Ingrid. “I can only agree,” said her brother Jonathan McPherson, beaming. Their mother, Lena McPherson, was jumping around for joy. “I am very happy that both my kids won,” she said.

People from all over the project come to attend this modeling competition. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the atmosphere was happy and cheerful. Organizer Gavin Fourie said the youth club is very thankful towards everyone who made this show a reality and helped to organize this event: Fairhills Association, Du Toits Kloof Cellar, Origin Wines, Deetlefts, Alpha and Omega, Fairhills Craft Shop and Edwin Lloyd who was responsible for the video-recording.

Winners

Miss Fairhills : Ingrid McPherson (Lorraine Farm)
1st princess : Rozanne Willemse (Wangenheim Farm)
2nd princess : Karen Vermeulen (Wangenheim Farm)
Miss Personality : Jo-Hanna Conradie (Tierstel Farm)

Mr Fairhills : Jonathan McPherson (Lorraine Farm)
1st prince : Denzel Hendricks (Wangenheim Farm)
2nd prince : Eldrige Swarts (Florence Farm)
Mr personality : Steven Van Heerden (Onderplaas Farm)

New Library and Computer Center for Fairhills

27 Sep

Library assistant Marlen Hendricks with some eager readers in the back.

The Fairhills Library and Computer Center will be moved from the Fairhills Community Center to Fairhills Lorraine Primary School on Lorraine farm, one of the farms in the project. The building of the new space started on 12 January 2010.

This project is sponsored by Virgin Wines in the United Kingdom. Contributions made by Virgin Wines from the sale of Fairtrade wines made this long-standing dream of a library and computer center a reality. The computer center will be available to the community of Fairhills as well as the rest of Rawsonville. Children from the farming communities will be able to do their homework and their school projects in peace as many don’t have the kind of home environment which allows them to concentrate on their work.

The main reason for moving the center from the community hall is to have it within reach of more farms in the project. At the moment the center lies far out from where most of the farms are. Only one farm, Onderplaas, is close to the center. The team from Maans Builders are working on the project. “I am very proud to work with the people of Fairhills,” said company owner, Maans Pietersen. Maans builders, a local building company, was also responsible for building a kitchen for Fairhills Lorraine Primary school and a chemical store on High Bury one of the Fairhills farms. Spreading the benefit to the local community is something the governing body of the Fairhills project feels very strongly about. “I feel as if I am part of the Fairhills community,” Pietersen said.

At the existing library, excitement is also rising about the new library. “I can’t wait for it to open,” said Fairhills library assistant Marlen Hendricks. “I am looking forward to have my own space to work. I would like to plan some competitions for the kids,” he said. At the moment the library is in one corner of the community hall. A bigger space would mean more room for fun activities.

Once everything is settled it will be business as usual. For example the computer classes currently running will continue on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Written by Gavin Fourie

Rawsonville’s Boeremeisies

18 Aug

It has been called the hidden jewel of Rawsonville. Most people, when they see it for the first time, are amazed at how beautiful it is. Die Kaggel, meaning fireplace, as the coffee shop is called, has a reputation of getting people hooked, not just because of the delicious food and peaceful surroundings, but also because of the friendly service you get there.

Managing the coffee shop is the jovial sister- in-law team of Anmareth and Cecile Smith, the wives of two producers in the Fairhills project. So far, the shop is doing very well and they are receiving a lot of support from the Rawsonville residents. “It feels very good to have the support of the towns people ” Anmareth and Cecile said about the Rawsonville residents.

Cecile (Left) and Anmareth

The decision to renovate an old warehouse into a place where you can eat and snuggle up seemed strange. What could you do with a space like that? But the two had a plan. A big fireplace was build for a cozy atmosphere in winter. It was filled-up with everything that is old and has a story to tell. From an old cash-up register to a gramophone. The cash-up register comes from “Sully se hoek” (Sully’s corner), where the farmers used to shop. Later it was used on the farm Klipdrift in the farm shop until Anmareth’s nephew Niel “Tippel” Du Toit give it to her.

Two of the coffee shop’s specialties are the baked cheese cake and super large milkshakes. They are a must to try for anyone visiting for the first time. “After you have a taste of it you will come back for more,” two Worcester residents, Elna and Ella, said.

Fairhills coffee shop is also child-friendly. There is a very nice outside play area for kids and a room where they can play and watch DVD’s while mom and dad eat in peace. “It’s a nice place to come together and socialise and its safe for you’re kids. It’s very beautiful and the place has a very calming atmosphere, ” Antoinette Van der Merwe and Jacoline Brink, two regulars from Rawsonville said.

Amareth and Cecile are two typical “boeremeisies” (farm girls), and by that I mean they are beautiful, eye-catching and very humble with that something special about them. And now they have given Rawsonville their own “boeremeisie” – a coffee shop that catches the eye – using décor elements inspired by the past to create something new.

*Written by Charlet Moses

Environmental and Planning Update

18 Aug

Fairhills on the march for the environment

Reclamation projects

Rawsonville is a gorgeous region; we however have an ongoing battle with plant invaders in the region. Working for Water (an project driven by die Departement of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa since 1995) has done much to clear these invaders from our river courses, permitting additional run-off. Without these water-hungry invasive trees, particularly Black Wattle, our rivers no longer run dry during the long, hot summer months. However, new tree growth is rife and without follow-up action, these weeds return to rob us of a precious natural resource.

Fairhills has embarked on projects to plant indigenous vegetation to stop the repopulation of invaders. Indigenous seed banks have been depleted in most river banks and thus a helping hand is needed to aid nature to get our river courses back to a more natural state. Two farms, Lorraine and Edelsdale, have already started these projects.

Human activity zones are also being improved. This will not only help unlock Agri-tourism potential through beautification, but have a positive psychological impact on all residents. On Lorraine in particular, the feeling of additional pride in their surroundings is evident amongst staff. Additional trees from the reclamation projects are to be given to staff members for planting around staff housing areas.

Deciduous tree projects (planting trees which shed their leaves annually) in human activity areas will reduce energy consumption through summer shading, whilst allowing winter sun through. This project also facilitates carbon footprint reduction and turns Fairhills farms into carbon sinks, reducing global warming.

Fairhills Secure of  Tenure Project

It is important that the need for ownership be addressed. Fairhills has identified land to provide Secure of Tenure, in other words, ownership, to the staff of the members’ farms. This is a lengthy process, but design and approval phases are in progress.

Fairhills also wishes to address housing needs within our community alongside the need for agricultural land. This requires the support of the Department of Land Restitution and Rural Development. This will entail the building of homes for the Fairhills community. No longer will our members be subject to the restrictions and lack of security one has from not owning one’s own home. A retirement facility is being investigated, to provide a safe haven for those Fairhills’ members no longer employed due to old-age.

We are engaging with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture to identify Rawsonville as one of the province’s nine rural development zones, to further the upliftment of our community and our members.

Environmental Policy

Fairhills now has their own environmental policy that is aligned with the guidelines laid out by Fairtrade’s FLO-Cert guidelines. However, the Fairhills Environmental and Planning policy is a much more comprehensive document. This allows producers to plan their developments on their properties, properly implement sound chemical practices and aims to guide aesthetics, to facilitate growth in agri-tourism.

It contains a guide to reducing energy usage, how to stop invasive vegetation, how to intelligently plant both vineyards and tree projects, which areas of a farm should be preserved in a natural state and how to deal with all aspects of chemical use.

Currently, this policy document is being printed and will be handed to producers to act as a regulatory document to improve our environmental credentials and guide our sustainable farming practices.

*Written by Andres de Wet

Special Report: My Day in the Mendoza Vineyards

8 Aug

In May 2010 American journalist Lisa Costantini visited Mendoza Vineyards in Argentina. Lisa, a freelance-writer and photographer, is currently traveling the world with husband John Siner exploring the relationship between sport
and culture.
Lisa has written for Conde Nast, New
York Post, Backpacker, Glamour, and many others. Read her experience on the day she spent in Mendoza at our fairtrade project.