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The Village of Happiness

This week I had the pleasure of being invited to hear Professor Thuli Madonsela, the ex-Public Protector, now Professor at Stellenbosch give us some of her views on land expropriation.

She comes from a legal background, is enormously well connected and well informed so it was a delight to hear her version of events that are unfolding.

But there was a moment when she almost whispered, “Dear colleagues, but surely we have to see that in a country where the majority of the population own just 7 percent of the urban land and just 1.2 percent of the rural land, something needs to be done.”

So just in case you were wondering she is confident in our courts, in our processes and she has faith that the right decisions will be made although they will probably have to be settled in a court of law so as they say, Moenie panic nie!

She did however allude to such a positive story that I felt I had to share it with all of you.

Quietly and without too much fanfare a Stellenbosch couple David and Elaine Potter built a R30 million architect designed village and gave the title deeds to their 150 workers. Yes, gave them the title deeds.

They’re calling it compensation without expropriation. The village comes complete with a creche, aftercare and an entertainment centre.

The village has 22 cottages and is built on a 4-hectare site with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.

The move stunned the 150 odd staff of Nuwe Son farm between Paarl and Franschhoek who count among their neighbours Johan Rupert as well as Richard Branson.

One of the new owners Diane Fraser was in tears. They look like guest houses she said. I would never have been able to afford my own house.

Dianne, who is now 50, lives with a daughter and two granddaughters. A former farm supervisor, she now works full time at the village creche and benefits from regular training courses.

She said the village is close to a clinic and to public transport which means less walking and better security.

The village has homes of three different sizes all with solar geysers, LED lighting and landscaped gardens giving it a very upmarket feel.

Both the Potters are South African born are philanthropists who spent years planning the staff village on their table grape farm in the hope of meaningful social upliftment

The Potters said it has always been their intention to assist the staff since they bought the farm in the 90’s.

Elaine Potter, a former journalist, said they believe that education is the real engine for upliftment and are making a serious effort to improve the facilities and opportunities for the children of the village.

What a beautiful story and thank you to the Potters for showing us just one way in which we can make a difference.


André The Big Positive Guy – Sundays 6am – 10am on Smile 90.4FM