Waitrose Foundation At Work

Leadership and community impact at Buffelskraal in De Doorns

February 2024

We had the opportunity to visit Buffelskraal farm in the Hexriver Valley in November last year and had a chat to Quinton Matolla who has been working on the farm for the past 14 years. He grew up on a neighbouring farm, Lemoenbult and completed school up to matric. After finishing school, he was involved in youth development, and resided in Worcester for a period.

From 2010 to 2014, Quinton was a general worker on Buffelskraal. He was then approached by farm owner, Johan Rabie, who sent him for various training courses, after which he was appointed as supervisor. He now oversees several teams with 30 workers in a team, responsible for various duties from the vineyard to the pack store.

Quinton's first contact with the Waitrose Foundation was in 2012 when he met Hilda Links, Waitrose Foundation Manager: Education and Training Support. He was elected to the worker committee in 2012. The committee election takes place every second year, and the members are democratically elected by the worker community. Quinton became the chairperson of the committee in 2015 and since then he has been in regular contact with Hilda as well as Raymond Engelbrecht, the Foundation's Manager: Farm Support. There are 12 workers on the committee, representing workers on three Rabie farms in the Hexriver Valley.

When the Waitrose Foundation became involved, there was already a very active sports development programme which the workers benefited from, but when the Foundation became involved with support and funding, a new dimension was added. Quinton experienced it on a very personal level, being challenged to become not only a better leader, but also as a man – how he looked after his family. The skills development and support are tangible. The outcomes of training programmes and support by Waitrose Foundation team members also reach the wider community. “As a leader, you plough back what you’ve learnt, wherever you go,” said Quinton.

One of the highlights of the period that Quinton has been involved with the Waitrose Foundation, was to meet English cricketer Alastair Cook. It was a fantastic experience to see an international sportsman of his calibre play on Buffelskraal's field. The video of Alastair’s visit can still be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoYThI4jMPY

At the time we spoke to Quintion, there were a number of fun sporting events coming up, including one for the whole community that was to be held on Saturday the 2nd of December.

“It is not just about projects. It is about becoming a better person and to take those skills home. We have hope for bigger and ‘deeper’ projects!” There is a need for more training, and he looks forward to exposure to more development opportunities in 2024 and beyond.