Nestled in a quiet street off the busy main road of Paulpietersburg, is the eDumbe Agri Centre, the home of the Paulpietersburg Farmers’ Association. The quaint building – formerly a home – still has its original wooden floors with walls depicting a painted landscape scene that Michaelangelo would be proud of! Cabinets full of historical artefacts and memorabilia, including the original minute book and typewriter, showcase the rich history of this Farmers’ Association, started in 1926.
Celebrating its 91st anniversary at the recent AGM held in May, a wall of photos paying tribute to all the former chairmen was unveiled amidst personal tales of farming triumphs, tribulations and successes being shared.
A key feature of the Paulpietersburg Farmers’ Association is the state-of-the-art security centre, brainchild of the former Chairman of 16 years, Arno Engelbrecht. The security centre services farmers in the area as well as the community and also provides safety and disaster management services, including assistance with fires. The farming community suffered its worst disaster in 2007 when fires swept through Vryheid and Paulpietersburg, leaving four people dead, farms destroyed and people destitute.
“Everyone came together to help those in need,” recalls Arno.
By co-ordinating the donation and distribution of essentials like food and clothing, along with extra grazing fodder to feed stricken animals and live stock, Arno proudly explained that “the Farmers’ Association was at the centre of these relief efforts.”