I breathe out the pain,
The hurt, the words.
My life becomes a single grain
In the sands of my oasis.
I am calm now,
The chaos in my mind at rest.
I do not bother with why, when or how.
This peace is my oasis.
That one pure moment in the dark,
The deepest black I have ever known
This harmony has seemed to depart
Come back to me, my oasis
- Oasis by cellobello
The Eye Kuruman is a natural fountain in the Northern Cape that delivers approximately 30 million litres of crystal-clear water daily – a welcome supply for the town’s domestic water needs and surrounding farms. According to available information, it is the largest natural fountain in the Southern Hemisphere. In Tswana, the fountain’s name, ‘Gasegonyane,’ means ‘small water calabash with bubbling water’.
CEO Dispute Resolution Official, Su-Mari Kemp grew up in Kuruman – the remarkable town in the middle of the harsh Kalahari. And, it would seem, the oasis spirit of Gasegonyane flows through her veins – helping her in her work with CEO members. “In today’s harsh and thorny economy, no employer can afford not to have an employers’ organisation to assist them with the challenges that come with any labour dispute or CCMA matter,” says Su-Mari. “Labour and CCMA cases in South Africa have grown significantly over the past few years, and the knowledge and experience provided by our teams at CEO is a must for any employer to help protect them and re-energise them.” Su-Mari stresses how easily employees can run to the CCMA for a grievance, with or without merits. “The impact on an employer’s productivity can be frustrating and disastrous. CEO is the voice of reason and calm.”
Su-Mari says growing up in Kuruman, her family life was great. “We were a close-knit family, and growing up in a small town meant we spent plenty of time together and getting dirty in the Kalahari sand!” She says her parents were her great influence in her life. “They had a lot of obstacles in their life just to get to where they are today and to make a success. They motivate us every day to keep giving your best in every aspect of our lives.” Her father’s passion for law influenced her to pursue a legal career. “He has always been one of my greatest cheerleaders,” she smiles. “I never had that aha moment in high school for the sort of career I wanted to pursue. And when the time came to make the tough decision of which path to follow, it was between Law and Psychology for me.”
After being in private practice for 10 years, Su-Mari joined the CEO team. “I felt it was time for a new challenge, and when I heard about the vacant position, I decided to give labour law a try. I am so happy I made that decision, as I enjoy labour law more than I ever thought I would!”
Her colleagues describe her as extroverted, enthusiastic – and maybe even a little bit crazy! She bursts out with laughter. “Even if I do not see those colleagues often, it is a great team to work with. The support and welcome from everyone at CEO have been overwhelming and have helped so much with the transition.”
When asked to dream about her future, Su-Mari admits that she’d most probably not be living in Kuruman. “Maybe I’d be sipping cocktails on an island somewhere,” she jokes. “But I would still be available virtually for cases!” There’s no doubt that wherever Su-Mari and her family settle one day, the spirit of Kuruman will be with her always.