Opinions, Travel and Tourism

Do you ever think about farmers?

Farming is sexy.

But only when you really stop to think about it.

Without farmers, there is no human race.

Take a moment to think about how you perceive farmers, then take 90 seconds to watch this award winning animation before you read on.

Watch Old MacDonald had a farm

Watch This man is building a rocket

We read food labels, shop at organic markets and talk about loving the earth, and healthy living.

But how often do we consider all that happens to get that produce to us?

 Farmers are living this love of the earth every day, 365 days a year. They are connected to the land and have a deep respect and understanding of nature. They are at the mercy of the weather as they strive to nurture livestock and plants to feed our nation.

They cried over losses in times of drought, then carried on, innovating, embracing technology and doing what was needed to get the job done.  

South African farmers are feeding 56 million people.

And GWK are supporting them every step of the way.

The GWK slogan is “Feeding the people who feed the people”.

Neil de Klerk of GWK blew me away when he spoke to us before the first screening of “Old MacDonald had a farm”

He reminded me of everything that is good in South Africa, and how amazing our people are.

His passion for agriculture and respect for everyone involved in any aspect of this industry was contagious and thought provoking.

He spoke about the crazy world we live in, and how we have our priorities upside down.  When Whats App shuts down for a day, it is news, but what if farming shut down for a day?

What if farming shut down for a day?   Think about it.

Chatting to Neil later, he confirms my earlier thoughts, that he is a man with an unshakable belief in the power of the South African people when he says: “1% of the population are on the extreme left or right, where corruption, crime and negativity thrive, the 98% in between are incredible people, good people, positive people who are doing their best”

GWK wants to tell the whole world how amazing farmers are and share the human truth of what it involves, and how important the agriculture industry is to the success of South Africa.

They want to highlight these good stories, create a positive narrative for South Africa, and pay tribute to every person in the agricultural sector.

I believe they have achieved this with “Old MacDonald had a farm” and “This man is building a rocket”

These two animated TV advertisements not only celebrate our farmers, but also show the talent of South African companies, the MullenLowe marketing agency and Bewilder TV who did the incredible stop frame animation , designing and 3D printing all the buildings, people and animals used in the 90 second ads.


Agriculture offers a wide range of job opportunities from farming, mechanization and irrigation to logistics, procurement and research and a whole lot more in between.

GWK offer bursaries Click here to apply for a bursary , endorse the principles in the Agricultural Charter for Black Economic Empowerment and invest in the development of emerging farmers by providing mentorship, planning and agricultural support.

They invest in their staff by offering skills development, and in the community by offering internships and learner programmes to persons who haven’t completed high school. They will complete an NQF accredited programme over the course of 12 months, while earning a salary.

Staff members who have not obtained a matric qualification, are given the opportunity to complete different levels of ABET to obtain their Grade 12 certificate while working at GWK.

Press release from GWK

Four years ago, GWK’s animated TV advertisement acknowledging South African farmers and other people in agriculture for the work they are doing to feed the nation, was awarded one Loerie and three Pendoring advertising awards.

Now, GWK is proud to release the follow-up animated film, Old MacDonald Has A Farm, which promises to leave an even bigger impression on South African viewers.

In 2015 GWK shifted the public’s focus towards farmers by telling the story of South African agriculture and the amazing work these people do. They did this with an animated advertisement, This Man Is Building A Rocket, which told the story of Frank, the farmer, his son, Frikkie, and their dog, Flip.

The message was clear: Farmers are building rockets, because without them, the rest of the world (like scientists) won’t have the food to feed their minds to build rockets or do the work needed to build a better future.

This year, the world is introduced to Old MacDonald, Frank’s father. Old MacDonald Has A Farm gives insight to where Frank’s passion for farming was born, how agriculture has changed over time, how technology has changed the world of food supply, and how knowledge is exchanged between generations.

GWK has partnered with the agency MullenLowe and animators Bewilder TV, with the support of John Deere Financial and Valley Irrigation, to create this heartfelt, creative, animated advertisement as a tribute to every person working in agriculture.

Neil de Klerk, executive head of GWK Group marketing and communications, compares the approach to the new film to farmers improving their yields. “How do you improve something that is already great?” he says about the follow-up advertisement. “That is what farmers are faced with daily. Also, both advertisements were produced by local talent, which is something we can be very proud of.”

De Klerk says being awarded for the first advertisement was an honour for GWK and its partners in the project, “but the reaction to the advertisement from people from all walks of life was really special and dear to us. We hope the new advertisement will also speak to people’s hearts.” 

Kirk Gainsford, MullenLowe’s creative director, confirms that the success of the first advertisement made the production of the second one both terrifying and exciting. “We knew we couldn’t make something as good as the last one, we had to make something better.”

“After we received the new storyline from the agency, it has taken us two years to develop the new set, characters, farm and props,” says Ruan Vermeulen from Bewilder about this enormous project.

The story unfolds over 90 seconds using a combination of different animation techniques, including stop-frame.

“This project is dedicated to every person working in agriculture to ensure a better future for all of us,” says De Klerk.

Old MacDonald Has A Farm is launched on GWK’s social media platforms on Friday, 27 September. The first TV screening will take place during the first episode of the new programme GWK is part of, called Ons Boere, Ons Inspirasie, broadcasted on kykNET starting 3 October.


GWK is a public, farmer-owned company, operating from its head office in Douglas in the Northern Cape, with offices in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northwest, Free State, Limpopo, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. GWK is involved in grain products, specialist crops and meat and auction services amongst others, providing farmers with the inputs they need, supporting them with the best solutions on the farm and ensuring the best channels to market for their products, locally and abroad. GWK’s premium branded foods are manufactured with a plough-to-plate philosophy, linking consumers with farmers through sustainably manufactured products from the farm.

This is a sponsored post.

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