Finish the dish
before the roast is spoilt
he kitchen remains a pretty hot place, regardless whether
it is a
studio or a meeting in the Grain Building.
We always refer to Africa not being a place for sissies. Simi
larly, South Africa is not really for people who cannot work
in the hot kitchens of our world.
Heat has the ability to warm you: Hot under the collar or warm
when one gets cold and indifferent. However, heat also has the qual
ity to change the form of an object if the heat is focused on one
spot long enough. Items can melt into one another and form
something new. Maybe that is what we are busy doing: Forming
something new in agriculture?
My Grade 9 teacher also strongly believed in this. My history marks
were not to her taste, so with her excellent tennis forearm, she put
so much heat on my behind that I immediately changed my attitude
towards the subject. Such a process brings changes, but goes hand
in hand with pain.
As I move about the boardrooms of our sector, I sense a great deal
of pain. To a large extent the main topic is the pain of the past.
There are a large variety of plans to treat these pains, but unfor
tunately, they cause new pains. Once again, I became aware of the
restoration process in our country. Restoration is actions focused
on making something better than it was. Better for whom? one
Our focus must be on executing the restoration in such a manner
that we do not have to start all over when one party considers the
matter closed. This way we do not win.
The secret in the kitchen is to finish the dish before the roast is
spoilt. Burnt offerings leave a bad taste in the mouth. It also destroys
the nutritional value of food. The food becomes worthless. I trust
that the leaders on either side of the kitchen discussions will know
when the dish is ready and usable and that they will stop before the
roast is spoilt.
I am also perceiving another thing in our society. There are quite
a lot of people who get tired. Tired as in sick: Physically, but also
psychologically. There is a hunger for good news; something that
works and something that can take the country forward. Good news
that lasts longer than just the next news bulletin about some kind of
disaster or setback that is related with such relish to ensure that you
do not feel too positive.
Those with a support network usually get over it and recover soon,
but where single mothers have to continue alone and/or family are
not close by, it is hard to cope. We all need a support network. I
do not see the temperature in South Africa’s kitchens cooling down
soon and therefore my advice is that you thank those who support
you properly and take good care of them.
During a recent leadership training session, one of the lecturers of
the Grain Academy, Dr René Uys, pointed out that most likely the
single biggest shortcoming in the make-up of producers who partici
pate in debates and negotiations at national level was the ability to
listen and control personal emotions during meetings.
Our inability to understand the emotions and needs of other
parties, prevents us from influencing the direction of the debate and
to steer it to common ground so that we may find solutions that can
take us forward. Everyone in the country needs the parties partici
pating in, especially the land debate, to meet one another – to the
benefit of food security and a better future for all.