Ricochet News

Jeeva family comes to the aid of Steytlerville’s drought-stricken farmers

Dec 8, 2017
Jeeva family comes to the aid of Steytlerville’s drought-stricken farmers

The small Karoo town of Steytlerville became the focus of an extraordinary and intriguing event that happened on the 26th of November as one of its patrons met with farmers at a church gathering to hand over a donation to local farmers in the drought-stricken area.

Steytlerville is a settlement located in the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality. The town borders on the Groot River, 164km north-west of Port Elizabeth and is situated 90km east of Willowmore.

The town was founded in 1876 on the Doorspoort farm and attained municipal status in 1891. Named after the Reverend Abraham Isaac Steytler (1840-1922), a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, and Moderator of the Cape synod from 1909 to 1915, it has a population of around 4 000 and is very dependent on farming as its main economic activity.

Recently, however, droughts have ravaged the area and it was during this period that a relationship was formed between the Steytlerville farming community and the Jeeva family, who own the Uitenhage-based Afri-Save Cash & Carry.

This relationship was cultivated many years ago, when the Jeeva patriarch, Yusuf Jeeva, was first approached by the Steytlerville community back in 1983 and he used his resources to come to the aid of the farmers.

Thirty-four years later, history repeated itself as once more as the same farmers, who are losing their livelihoods in the drought once again turned to the Jeeva family, but this time welcomed by Munir Jeeva, son of Yusuf Jeeva.

One of the farming elders, Ernie Deysel, as well as Reverend Ebin, appealed to Jeeva in a letter describing the day-to-day hardships they are encountering due to the drought ravaging their little town and the emergency aid they desperately needed to assist the local farmers.

On the 26th of November, Jeeva and his associates entered the local church where the community were collected together.

Heads turned solemnly as the community came face to face with a man, who agreed to assist them. Reverend Ebin happily introduced Jeeva to everyone in an emotional speech.

“We would like to welcome Mr Munir Jeeva to our little town and to our community. We have built a relationship with his family for almost three decades and this is one that we have always held close to our hearts. As his elders helped our elders, so he stands here now ready to assist us also,” he said.

“This is the first meeting with Munir Jeeva, but after the very first call, I knew I had a friend in Munir and with this I would like to introduce you to Mr Munir Jeeva.”

The two men shook hands as Jeeva walked to the front of the church and stood in front of the community amid applause that shook the church.

“Good morning and thank you to Mr Deysel and Reverend Ebin for allowing us to assist the farmers of Steytlerville. We pray daily to the Almighty, that He grants us patience in these times of adversity," he told the farmers.

"We ask Him to shower us with blessings especially to assist the farmers of Steytlerville and to lift this drought that has been affecting us all.

“My heart weeps for what’s happened here and how it has affected your livelihoods and brought this beautiful town and you the community to your knees but I come bringing good news! I was so moved by my talks with Mr Deysel and reverend Ebin that I have brought fifty five food parcels for each of the affected farmers, totalling thousands of rands as well as eighty other hamper packs so that nobody here goes home empty handed." 

The church erupted once more in applause as Jeeva himself, as well as his wife, holding their eleven-month-old daughter, and group of volunteers handed out the food parcels, ensuring that each and every church member received a part of this generous donation.

The happiness and elation seen on the faces of the community was beyond description and already one could see their spirits lifted and morale boosted, each taking turns to greet Mr Jeeva and thank him.

As the crowds dispersed, Revered Ebin and Mr Deysel wholeheartedly thanked Mr Jeeva once more on behalf of themselves and their struggling resilient community. Mr Jeeva assured them that the bond between him and their community would remain stronger than ever and if they ever needed anything then they must turn to him.

Mr Jeeva once again in a show of pure compassion and respect has once again proven that to give is better than to receive and that at the end of the day humanity will always bring people together and prevail against all odds.

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