I look high,
I look low,
Looking for a home in the heart of the country.
- Paul McCartney
Over half a century ago, Paul McCartney moved to rural Scotland to escape the post-Beatles public eye. Still today, perhaps spurred on by the pandemic, many urbanites aspire to flee to greener pastures for the sake of their own health and in the hope of providing a quality upbringing for their children.
Life in the countryside offers many opportunities for youth to develop work skills and benefit from farm life. It instils a passion, love, and respect for land, builds character, teaches a good work ethic and responsibility, and creates better bonds among family members. “Plus, you get to have the best pets!” insists CEO Assistant Head of Administration, Yolandi Tinkler. She’s referring, of course, to the sheep on her grandfather’s farm in the Northern Cape.
Unlike her city-slicker counterparts, Yolandi was blessed to have started out life on the farm, and she remembers those times with great fondness. “My best memories are as a kid, running barefoot through the crops with my sister, getting stuck between thorny bushes, and playing with sheep,” she smiles. “And the day wasn’t complete unless we’d had a swim in the river or enjoyed a ride in our Oupa’s Ford F100!”
The lessons from the farm and witnessing her grandfather’s success against great odds have made Yolandi who she is today. “From an early age, my path was paved with the characteristics of a strong and undefeated woman as I looked up to my mother working hard, raising us as a single mother – and never backing down.” Her friends and acquaintances say she’s dynamite in a small package! Under the condition of anonymity, they add, “She’s very stubborn! But she’s also extremely empathetic, humble, down-to-earth, funny and a hard worker.”
Yolandi finished her schooling years in Vereeniging. “I was inspired by the public figures who came from the same school, like Bakkies Botha, Juan Boucher and, of course, the talented Refentse with whom I was privileged enough to be in the same choir group.” Yolandi began working straight after matriculating. “Because of our finances, tertiary education was not on the cards, unfortunately. But I knew one thing – through working hard, I would be capable to improve my situation in life. The farm taught me that!”
Yolandi worked her way up through the Administration ranks in various companies before she joined CEO in 2018 as Administrative Assistant. Supported by the passion she already had for CEO, 4 years later she applied once again for an opportunity CEO advertised, and she says she could not be happier to be given the platform representing the company as Assistant Head of Administration. “I love how the platform of strong woman I get to work with empowers me,” she says. “The organisation’s vision and structure create an exciting energy in the atmosphere. Even if there are obstacles, you know whatever is expected from you, and we work hard together as a team.”
When asked for one thing, she could absolutely never do without, the multitasker and fear-nothing Yolandi naturally responds with four things! “Coffee every morning, my husband, quality time with my kids and long walks in nature.” And if you know this plaas meisie, all of those things are definitely one!