During 2011/12 the SAVF got involved in training of poor jobless nomadic “coloureds” (Karretjie People) from the Greater Karoo/Northern Cape as grooms/horse handlers. The objective was “to give a person a fishing rod (job) and not a fish”.
SA Veterinary Foundation upliftment program for Karretjie-mense
Student making a hay net
SA Veterinary Foundation upliftment program for Karretjie-mense
Student performing hoof care
The Karretjie People see themselves as: “Ons is te arm om bruin mense te wees. Ons is die geel mense”. We are too poor to be brown (coloured) people. We are yellow (San) people. Extracts of studies done by De Jongh (2002) indicate that: The itinerant sheep-shearing Karretjie People of the arid Great Karoo of South Africa are among the poorest of the poor. They represent a rural underclass. The shearers are paid 90c to R1.20 per sheep shorn and can theoretically earn R125 – R150 per week. The monthly average income for a Karretjie unit is never more than R300 and is put in perspective when measured against the minimum income level of R723 that was done by the Living Standards Development Survey six years ago. The Karretjie People are usually illiterate and possess a limited range of skills making alternative employment difficult.

Local farmers see them as poor nomadic sheep shearers that will occasionally slaughter sheep illegally to sell the meat for liquor or to feed their families. About 5 000 families of Karretjie People are spread throughout the Northern Cape. The people gather at outspans (usually on government property) between shearing assignments.

The Khumani mine from Kathu in the Northern Cape sponsored the project together with the SAVF. The project was initiated and handled by Dr Kobus du Toit, a director of the SAVF. The mine wanted to get involved in upliftment of the local communities to benefit the rest of the community, and in particular, the farmers. By training uneducated Karrretjie People they would be able to earn a better salary resulting in less pressure on local government and infrastructure.

Mr. Jan van Zyl a prominent cattle farmer in the Vryburg district made the infra-structure available to the Vlampies Horse Academy for the training of the students. The Foundation sponsored the training of the instructors of the Academy. Students are recruited by placing ads in the local newspapers (age 22 – 24 years). The course lasts 3 months for 12 students at a time. The costs during the training as well as student pocket money are sponsored by the Khumani mine. Those who pass the examination get a certificate from the South African Boerperd Breed Society.

On completion of their training students are able to do:

  • General stable grooming (basic hoof care)
  • Train a wild horse from the veld
  • Train show horses
  • Train a horse to pull a cart/coach
  • Make of rope halters, teff nets and repairing of leather equipment
  • Security patrols

The first group of 11 students has already qualified and have been placed in a variety of jobs including working on farms. The second group of 12 students will qualify in December 2012.

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