Tag: entrepreneurship

2005 Direct Farm Marketing Conference

Farmers Need to Shosholoza

Bonnie Baltessen

This past weekend at the Royal Oak Inn in Brandon, the 2005 Direct Farm Marketing Conference challenged farmers to “think outside the box” to find new ways of generating income. The conference attracted over 130 participants to an inspiring two days of motivational speakers and direct farm marketers who have seen their business soar. This was far from a normal conference. The first speaker was Monica [Knight], a wild, wacky personality full of color, music and dance. This strange lady proudly proclaimed that she is a Prairie girl. She lives in rural Saskatchewan near Gravelbourg. An accent reveals her true roots in South Africa, and her message is “shosholoza”, meaning “move on”. Dancing as she talked, [Knight] used mostly African music, peppered with Paul Simon and the Canadian band Trooper. She warned the crowd she didn’t have a PowerPoint presentation and proclaimed, “If it’s a problem, take a tranquilizer”. The message set the tone for her witty and thought-provoking presentation. Without saying as much, she made it clear that if a venture needed a grant or subsidy, it wasn’t worth doing. She preached that energy, enthusiasm and fun were ingredients that could make a business idea come to fruition. She had no room for naysayers, telling of her own experiences coming to Canada with her teaching qualifications from South Africa and being informed that she wasn’t qualified. Donning a tribal mask, shield and spear, she said “so I went down to the Mayor’s office to complain.” Her teaching methods were nothing like the norm, but her messages were extremely powerful and emotional. Referencing a Trooper song, she said, “we’re here for a good time, not a long time,” and encouraged the crowd to have a good time. When people in small towns wonder why the children are leaving, [Knight] said “they’re not having any fun.” If the argument is “that’s the way we used to do it” or, “it was good enough for us,” [Knight] then says “shosholoza” (move on). Of course, she was preaching to the converted. Throughout the day, if became apparent that these farmers had already realized the changing times and wanted to do something about it. In this crowd were rural people who were looking for a side business and farmers who had taken their farm a step further to remarkable success…