INDIGENOUS PEOPLE - CLANWILLIAM
For thousands of years a people known as the indigenous people lived in a rugged, dry, mountaneous region at the southern tip of the African continent - now called the Cederberg Mountains in South Africa. They survived in the beautiful yet unforgiving environment by handing down the secrets of forna and flora from generation to generation.
One of these secrets was a plant later called the Rooiboss bush. A bush that grew nowhere else on earth. And that, like the Indigenous people, had roots so deep it thrived in the harsh environment.
DR. P. LE FRAS NORTIER
The bush would later be called Aspalathus Linearis and first came to the world's attention when in 1772 botanist Carl Humberg noted the fine, needle-like leaves, when bruised and left to ferment in the African sun by the local Indigenous People created a tasty, thirst quenching red beverage.
In the 1930s DR. P. Le Fras Nortier, a physician and nature lover, discovered that Rooibos possessed exceptional agricultural and medicinal value. Demand grew, prompting farmers turned their attention to commercial production of the bush.
To this day it remains one of South Africa's few endemic wild resources that's succeeded in becoming a commercially cultivated crop.
Participation in work-related courses
Throughout the year the workers of Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate has the opportunity to participate in courses that enable them to do their work to the best of their ability. The courses include fork lift licenses, safety and first aid and welding.
The workers can also obtain drivers licenses. By participating and obtaining these certificates and licenses, the workers qualify for higher post levels and better salaries.
Participation in courses that are self-enriching
AgriSeta, a seta of the Department of Labour in South Africa, has a program called ABET that strives to educate farm workers by teaching them to read, write and do mathematics. AgriSeta, in combination with Media Works, provide computers and work books to all the farm workers participating. Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate has provided a learning area so that the participants study in an educational friendly environment. The facilitator is provided by The Big Five Rooibos Company.
This ABET-program was started in February 2009 on Groenkol and the first examination will take place in November 2009. Classes are given twice a week, during work hours. The workers are eager to participate. The management of both Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate and The Big Five Rooibos Company are happy to see the response of the workers towards this program. This also indicates that the workers do want to enrich themselves.
The Big Five Rooibos Company has quantified their pledge to plough back into the community by donating a sum of money after the 2008 financial year to establish the Groenkol Workers Trust. This money is saved for special projects the building of a crèche for all the young children.
This facility can also serve as a place where the school children can go after school to do their homework under observation. As the parents work all day long, the management realizes that the youth need special attention. The youth is the future work force for the companies, therefore it is important for management to invest in the education of the youth on Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate.