Jobskraal Meatmasters is owned and run by the husband and wife team of Franschwa Batt and Chrismari van der Westhuizen-Batt. Chrimari’s roots in the Boesmanland stretch back generations, with them joining the family farming traditions in 2007. With Franschwa being from the Boland and qualified as an IT technician, their plan was never to farm here. But in 2005, one of the farms (Jobskraal) that Chrismari’s father leased came up for sale and he advised her to buy the farm. Without much consideration, she decided to sell her apartment in Stellenbosch and buy the farm with one condition… Her father carries on renting the farm so that they can go and work abroad for 2 years. By the end of 2007, they were back from Scotland to start farming at Jobskraal.
Like many of the other farmers in the area, they live a nomadic lifestyle as many generations before them. They move between farms in the summer and winter seasons. In the summer season, they move everything to their farm Uitspankolk where they tend to her fathers’ sheep as well as their own flock on the farm Tweerivier in the Boesmanland. Come the winter months they move everything to the Hantam where their sheep can enjoy the veld of Jobskraal.
They farm solely with Meatmasters, which is a relatively new breed. They prefer this breed as it is easy to farm within an extensive environment and does not require a lot of attention. The Meatmaster is bred for their meat, very much herd bound, and possesses strong motherly characteristics. They are very hardy and fertile, something of great value in these areas.
When asked about their farming philosophy and their thoughts about the area where they live, Franschwa and Chrismari responded “Our farming philosophy has been passed down from generation to generation, from parent to child and is a very simple one. Your animals come before anything else! That means making sure the animals have food, water, and shelter before looking after yourselves, here the animal is king.”
This philosophy is already being passed down to their 2 young daughters which they try and raise as close to nature as possible. One value they are trying to instil in them is to have respect for all animals and it seems to be bearing fruit. “Ask them what they want to buy with their money and food for their animals will always be on their list.”
“The Boesmanland is a harsh and arid part of South Africa. A lot of people come and go. But if you truly love the Boesmanland you will always return. The brackish water and the dust become part of your being. People from the Boesmanland know how to plan and come up with solutions. We know how to be content with little. We know the good and difficult times; the difficult times are usually more frequent than the good times. Through droughts and good times, the Boesmanland will always be an extraordinary place. A place where you can breathe and truly reflect…”