NAMIBIA’S tough rugby captain of four years ago and now a farmer near Stampriet in the south, hailed the national team’s performance at this year’s Rugby World Cup as typical of the spirit of Namibians in general, believing that “we will get to a new dawn and we will build a good future” together.
Speaking from his farm on the road between Stampriet and Gochas, he said his farmers union this weekend came together to watch the final game between South Africa and England in Japan. He said as a young farmer that came into the trade a mere five or six years ago, he was again inspired by the spirit that prevailed when the Springboks held the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft, because the win was bigger than the match.
“The people of South Africa were united by that win and even in Namibia, that feeling of togetherness was felt,” he said.
Drawing the hard work and the results of the rugby campaign into the conversation, he explained that a firm belief in God, hard work and unity in purpose, always yields results.
“I started farming recently, after coming back from England, where I played professional rugby. I had money and always wanted to farm. Now I am experiencing the toughest time of my life. Battling a drought that I cannot compare to anything I know. But I believe in hard work, my Creator and that there is hope,” he said.
Burger started out perfectly, with good land, more than a hundred head of cattle and some 1 500 sheep. He sold his cattle in time and tried to get as many sheep as possible to the markets. Now he has a mere 500 sheep left on his farm that he hopes would form the core of his herd when the rains come again.
“Every day we pick up more animals in the veldt. We feed them and do our best, but even the Lucerne farmers around here are complaining that the good waters of the Ouab-valley is drying away. You also don’t just buy more and more fodder from your neighbour. They have orders and when they cut Lucerne, the trucks pile up, waiting to load,” he said.
However, like most commercial farmers, his hard training school in international rugby taught him perseverance and a hardness he shares with his neighbouring farm folk.
“After Saturday,” he says; “we all are all positive and look forward to a good rainy season. There are other people, suffering more than we do…”