Life and Business Lessons from The Marico (June 2014)



Every winter I get a shock when the first cold front arrives, as it did on Friday here in Johannesburg. One would think after all these years that I could remember how cold it would be! What I do remember is how in 1981 the cold fronts always arrived just in time for the weekend. I wonder if that is going to be the pattern this year?
Anyhow I understand the cold should get rid of lots of bacteria, viruses and pests so helping us and the plants remain healthy. And it is a lovely opportunity to wear all the beautifully coloured silk scarves I have been making.

Life and business lessons from The Marico

Last month I said I would be sharing thoughts and lessons from our time in The Marico. It was our first visit and delivered more than we expected.
That is already a reminder of an old maxim – “under promise and over deliver”. Such a simple concept and yet one that few people practise in their work. One can also apply it to how we give customers (internal or external) an indication of delivery or completion dates.


Groot Marico village itself is small and dusty but there are real gems in the form of beautiful places to stay, fascinating salt of the earth
people to meet, culture and history to connect with, and delicious cordon bleu dinners at the local restaurant.



This is Die Oog, or The Eye, of the Marico – the origin of the river. As you walk out from the high reed beds into this special space it feels as though you’ve arrived on a movie set. The water tastes delicious and is crystal clear. I had no idea it was ~15m deep. Apparently it is a great scuba diving spot hence the structures on the right.
When we asked for directions at the information office Santa explained that we would be entering through a lesser known access point. The official marked entrance, where I believe an entrance fee is charged, she said was owned by a not so friendly landowner. Another lesson – be very careful of unnecessarily irritating a person of influence.
We struggled a little to find the farm entrance until a rough looking, kindly man hailed us asking if we were lost. He says he redirects about 30 people a month.

Once we reached the alternate access point we found that this landowner is so friendly that he not only freely allows visitors entrance to his farm but he has also laid a walkway through the reed beds and even provided a clean long drop toilet cubicle where one parks. Both men were such beautiful examples of generosity of spirit.


In the village Santa gave us a tour of the Herman Charles Bosman Living Museum.

Some years ago a small group of people formed a Literary Society to preserve Bosman’s writings and to create a museum. The first few years were spent clearing a piece of land that had been a dumping ground. They then built a perfect replica of the school house where Bosman lived and worked.

After this they turned to the Batswana people to ask them what they would like to build to represent their part of the history. Black and white worked together to build huts and learn how to plaster them with mud and cow dung.

Today individuals and groups visit the museum where readings and music evenings take place. School children come to learn folk dances of the Afrikaner and the Batswana and how to use medicinal plants. These individuals working together, old and young, black and white, with little resources, have built a legacy.


The day we were returning home we were already 20km out of the village on a dirt road at Die Oog so rather than back track to the main N4 road we set out to find a route on the roads less travelled. What a pleasure. The roads were in good condition and took us through interesting hamlets.
Whilst still on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere we stumbled across this monument erected by the local farmers in 1938.


When we rush through life on the main highway we miss opportunities to make special memories.


Working out our route home was interesting. Looking at the GPS we had too narrow a view to make a decision as to whether continuing on the dirt roads could take us in the right direction. We needed to bring out our map to get a better, bigger view.

That big picture enabled us to create a strategy which connected where we were to where we needed to be, home – our goal.

Then we looked at the routes the GPS was suggesting when set for either fastest or shortest route. Combining the GPS and the map we were able to find an optimised route which fitted with our vision of a more interesting drive.

When we combine big picture thinking with detail we can achieve the best outcome.



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Quote of the Day

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ~ von Goethe

My Little Black Book

On a recent Friday afternoon I took a parcel to Postnet Greenside to be wrapped and couriered. The driver was about to leave the shop with all the parcels and I was too late. However he offered to wait for mine.

That was excellent service and the staff are great. Postnet Greenside is at 139 Greenway with parking in Gleneagles Rd. Call them for directions 011 027 8434

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