New TV show puts VKB’s farmers on the map

We meet VKB’s Piet Potgieter, who transitions from farmer to co-host of "Vir die liefde van die land"

We begin the seven-day countdown to South Africa’s first television show celebrating the unsung heroes of agriculture. In collaboration with the VKB group, Food For Mzansi has criss-crossed the country for a ten-episode series called Vir die liefde van die land.

Ivor Price, TV host and Food For Mzansi co-founder. Photo: VIA TV

 The show, hosted by award-winning television presenter Ivor Price, will be broadcasted every Thursday evening at 18:00 with further repeats on Sundays at 20:00, Saturdays at 10:30 and Mondays at 08:00.

We are also proud to announce that Price teams up with Piet Potgieter, VKB’s manager: developing agriculture, who transitions from farmer to co-presenter for the very first time.

During a secret watch-party to selected viewers this week, Vir die liefde van die land was described as raw, real and cutting-edge – a truly cinematic experience about the powerful mentorship relationships between up-and-coming and commercial farmers who collaborate to make a notable contribution to food security and social cohesion in the country.

 

 We now get up, close and personal with Piet Potgieter

 

Piet Potgieter, VKB’s manager: developing agriculture, who transitions from farmer to co-presenter of the “Vir die liefde van die land” TV series. Photo: Herman Booyens

 

As a philanthropist, Potgieter has made a significant contribution to agriculture since his childhood days in Louwsburg, his birth town in northern KwaZulu-Natal. He has dedicated his life for the upliftment of farmers across racial and class lines. With his B.Com. (Honours) and M.Sc. qualifications, experience as a lecturer at the University of the Free State and earlier work with the Maize Board and government, Potgieter and his team at VKB now commit their lives to the development of new era farmers.

Piet, congrats! Was it difficult to transition from farmer to TV presenter?

I am still farmer and an agricultural economist, but my transition to television has been greatly helped by the environment where the filming took place. The presenter, Ivor Price, and the WYRD Films production team helped one to appreciate the whole experience of filmmaking. So, it was a good experience, but also rather stressful. After each interview, you think about the million things you could have said better or differently. I also had to juggle my responsibilities between farming, our work at VKB and presenting and interviewing other farmers. But all in all, it was a good experience.

What was the mood like when you were on set?

It was very positive because one is in a creative process, but there were also many moments of tension as certain things need to happen at very specific times. You are also influenced by the weather because we filmed from sunrise to sunset and then, during the day, there were periods with high winds which made it difficult to film. The mood was very constructive and positive, and everybody was cooperating well. I would even go as far as saying the mood was enthusiastic, and we pushed forward to get things done.

Television presenter Ivor Price and Free State farmer Samson Mahlaba, who is featured on the first episode of the new “Vir die liefde van die land” TV series. Photo: Food For Mzansi

 

What makes this TV series so special?

There have been many stories told about farmers, but few about new era farmers. Many of the farmers we feature in Vir die liefde van die land are in the very early stages of development. That is one of the things that makes this series so special because it tells untold stories and gives a more realistic picture of the challenges they face.

It focuses on the relationships and the environment that these farmers find themselves in. Specifically, the relationships and their stories of overcoming challenges. Everyone comes with their own history and set of circumstances that makes their story unique.

And then, of course, the farmers themselves… Remember they are also under pressure and they must suddenly cope with a film crew in their private spaces. Some of them somehow thought we were going to film for 30 minutes or so, not realising that filmmaking is a long and intense process. But the mood and the cooperation of their families and everybody on the farm, even the farm workers, was positive.

 

So, the first episode is on Thursday, 8 October at 18:00…

In the first episode we visit farmer Samson Mahlaba just outside Reitz in the Free State. We meet him and his mentor, Coenraad Fick. It is a wonderful story of a man who spent a lifetime as a farm worker and only got access to land five years ago when he retired.

Mahlaba’s farm is going from strength to strength, and his sons are also involved in the business, so it is a wonderful story of motivation and commitment. It also illustrates the importance of access to land and title deeds for new era farmers. I don’t want give it all away, but viewers will be moved by the beautiful relationship between Mahlaba and Fick.

  • The first episode of “Vir die liefde van die land” starts on Thursday, 8 October 2020 at 18:00 on VIA, DStv channel 147. There are further repeats on Sundays at 20:00, Saturdays at 10:30 and Mondays at 08:00.
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