4th March 2020, Johannesburg, South Africa. HENLEY Business School Africa has partnered with the Mark Fish Foundation to reach out to farm workers through sport – and give them the opportunity and the skills to change their lives.
Announcing the launch of the initiative at the school’s Paulshof campus in the north of Johannesburg, dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley said: “Sport brings people together as our founding father Nelson Mandela famously said 20 years ago at the inaugural Laureus awards and education allows people to change their fates – this initiative marries the two.”
Last year Henley Africa announced the launch of two brand new cutting-edge short programmes to contribute to the land debate and the need for South Africa to ensure its food security; the Foundations of Farm Management short course and the Agri Business Management course. The Mark Fish Foundation runs soccer days known as the Game of Stars to bring people together.
Now both will be working in tandem to host four separate day long events in Limpopo and Gauteng, pitting soccer teams of farmers and farmworkers against each other. But before they take to the soccer field, Henley will present a workshop based on the foundation for farm management programme which it developed last year.
Foster-Pedley appealed to the guests; key players in the agricultural sector as well as friends of the business school or alumni, to donate to the programme via the Mark Fish Foundation.
“These courses are our contribution not just to the national debate, but to providing very real, sustainable, equitable and academically rigorous solutions to a very pressing problem,” said Foster-Pedley. “We would like to roll them out across the country.
“Land redistribution is one of the most burning issues in South Africa, a festering sore left unresolved since the imposition of the hated Native Land Act of 1913, but its hand maid is food security. There is no reason why we cannot radically transform both ownership and the food production and agricultural supply chain – but to do so, we have to create a framework of education and support to ensure this is both successful and sustainable and avoid the roadblocks that have derailed the process in other countries and created food insecurity there.”
Henley Business School Africa is working with a number of different agricultural bodies, from commodity organisations to co-operatives – many of whom attended the launch. Most already offer technical training, as well the country’s agricultural colleges, to get them to add a day to each of their existing courses to allow Henley to integrate the management training into those existing workshops.
“The Mark Fish Foundation is fantastic initiative by a local legend of the game. We agree wholeheartedly with Mark that ‘when you pass a ball to one another things change, barriers are broken, opportunities are created, connections are made and most importantly, friendships are formed’.
“There could be no better partner for us to pilot this initiative, change lives and indeed a narrative that has bedevilled Africa, but especially South Africa for so much of its history. In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington, the founding father of the United State of America. ‘Agriculture,’ he said, ‘is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness’.
“We all know the truth in that,” said Foster-Pedley, “farmers are connected with the cycle of life through a visceral link with the land that many of us have lost. A good farmer would never have signed off the KPMG accounts because they would have seen the consequences of that, they would have understood the causality, because that would have been their lived reality. It’s another reason why agriculture is so critical in an industrial economy, even beyond literally feeding us.”
(bold dot) If you or your company would like to know more about Henley’s Foundation of Farm Management short course or donate to its roll out to farmers and farm workers across the country, contact Henley’s head of research and faculty development Dr Adri Drotskie on email at email@example.com or call 011 808 0860.