From Irrigator to Educator – guess who?

SAFE irrigation foreman swops citrus orchards for classroom to help local school

From the left: Kobus Strydom, manager of Tshipese Farms; Nicholas Kurauvone, Joan-Solitude’s irrigation foreman who is now teaching at Hope Primary School on a temporary basis; and Freddy Musisinyane, principal of Hope Primary School

When a primary school near Musina in the Limpopo province – bursting at the seams after it almost doubled in size at the beginning of 2017 and in desperate need of an extra pair of teaching hands – approached the nearby Joan- Solitude citrus farm for help, the farm’s irrigation foreman, Nicholas Kurauvone, didn’t hesitate.

He enthusiastically agreed to chip in and has since early in February temporarily traded the citrus orchards for the inside of a classroom at Hope Primary School, located on Hope Farm. Kurauvone, whose real passion in life is to teach, has been working at Joan-Solitude for the last eight years. Both Joan-Solitude and Hope are part of the three Tshipese Farms which produce grapefruit, oranges and lemons, and are managed by the Cape Town-based producer and exporter, SAFE (South African Fruit Exporters).

“I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity to help the school and our community, as I love teaching and working with children in primary schools,” says Kurauvone. A trained assistant teacher, he previously taught Grade 1 to 7 learners in Zimbabwe – where he was born – for 12 years. Kobus Strydom, manager of Tshipese Farms, says: “We’re delighted that one of our team members can give the school a hand in the interim. We wish Nicholas all the best as we know this is his true passion. Supporting the community, as well as our workers and their progress, lies close to our heart.” Tshipese Farms will fund Kurauvone’s temporary position at Hope Primary School until the Department of Basic Education has appointed a permanent teacher. The irrigation foreman will remain in SAFE’s employ while he teaches fulltime at the school.

Kobus Strydom, manager of Tshipese Farms, with learners at the Hope Primary School playground

Kurauvone is teaching the subjects of English and mathematics to Grade 2 and 3 learners at the school, which mushroomed from 110 to 192 learners. He says it will be challenging to give attention to all learners in such a large class, but he is looking forward to making a difference.

Serving the three SAFE farms as well as other surrounding farms, the Hope Primary School also attracts learners from the town of Musina, a 36km bus ride from Hope Farm. Freddy Musisinyane, the proud principal, attributes his school’s popularity to recent improvements to the building and playground (including a new kitchen, additional bathrooms and a newly-built classroom where Kurauvone teaches); its wide variety of activities; beautiful environment; and a feeding scheme which supplies children with one meal per day.

Musisinyane is quite relieved that Kurauvone will be lending a hand. The principal, who presented the farm foreman with an introductory programme, adds that Kurauvone will also be involved in after- school activities, such as teaching traditional Venda games and dance classes.

Strydom concludes: “Rendering assistance in this manner illustrates our commitment as farms accredited by the ethical trade programme, SIZA (Sustainability Initiative of South Africa). From SAFE’s side as well as from a corporate social investment perspective, we’d like to play an even more prominent role in aiding our community, the Hope Primary School and the learners’ soccer activities.”

For more information on SAFE, please contact:

Wibo van den Ende
Tel: +27 21 657 4000
Cell: +27 82 556 3890

Issued by HWB Communications on behalf of SAFE

For more information please contact:

Evelyn Holtzhausen
+27 21 421 0430
+27 82 658 6007

About SAFE (South African Fruit Exporters)

SAFE (South African Fruit Exporters) is a Cape Town-based exporting company directly involved in citrus and grape production in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape, as well as Limpopo. It farms, harvests, packs and exports its own product, tailored to clients and overseas markets’ specifications.

SAFE directly accesses and consistently delivers to markets such as Europe, the United Kingdom, Russia and the Far East, through a seamless, efficient value chain. It adheres to local and global health, safety and employment benchmarks, and ensures that its farms are managed in an environmentally sustainable way. SAFE is passionate about farming, serious about business and committed to contributing to the economic wellbeing of farming communities.