Derich and Marlaine Priga live in Villiersdorp in the Western Cape, South Africa. They have been involved in the agricultural industry for more than three decades, and are known as the devout Christian pioneers behind Klipfontein Farms. Contract packing for other farmers, they also sell fruit under their own D&M Fresh Products brand, which incorporates his and his wife’s initials. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they participated in and provided the facilities for interventions by industry bodies, Gift of the Givers and other farmers in their area – donating and distributing tonnes of fruit to the hungry and the homeless.
“Self-mastery both involves understanding yourself, and your place in the world,” wrote Suzannah Windon in 2019. Derich Priga is a living embodiment of this definition – there is a humble assurance about him that makes the demanding process of mastering yourself, become attractive.
His maturity stems from years of experience in the highly volatile and time-sensitive value chain of fruit exports – from farming to packing, logistics to marketing. He has wept among pallets of fruit that had nowhere to go, faced the challenge of imminent bankruptcy, and celebrated success. Yet through all the ups and downs, Derich and his wife Marlaine continue to love and faithfully serve God in and through their work.
Here are 6 ways to pursue self-mastery, according to Derich:
1. Do what is honourable, always
Build your business on the three pillars of Faith, Honesty and Integrity – always do the honourable thing. No matter what you are up against, do not take shortcuts or lose your integrity in the difficult days. Decide to trust God, and choose faith over fear.
2. Know what you are good at
Before you set out to achieve anything in business, be it in your own start-up or as part of a long-standing company – understand what you want to do, and what you are good at. Do not try to do something else, but embrace your God-given uniqueness.
3. Have a clear vision
Remember that ‘vision gives patience’ and enables you to endure. A clear picture of your vision becomes a palpable reminder of God’s promises for you, so that when patience is required you can focus on what is in your hands and put it to work. Derich was able to plant 50 hectares of fruit in just five years because he looked at what he had, and leveraged the partnerships around him, while holding true to the vision of his business.
4. Prioritise relationships, even the difficult ones
Do not burn bridges today that you may need to walk across tomorrow. Partnerships are essential to build impactful businesses. Skill yourself in working well with others across race, religion, and cultural differences. Because when you build with the right people, in the right way, you will partner for growth. To illustrate his point, Derich poses this question: “Do you want 100% of R5 million? Or do you want 50% of R60 million?”
5. Acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers
Avoid being a ‘know-it-all’ – be honest when you are unsure or do not know the answer, and ask for help. As Derich gently encourages you, “If you pretend, you will never learn.”
6.Choose prayer first
You will inevitably face challenges on your journey in business. Derich is convinced that it is not about what you are facing, but about how you face it. Whether you are up against an impossible situation or a precarious relational issue, choose prayer first. Ask God for His wisdom and guidance to lead you. As Derich puts it, “Don’t fight your way through, pray your way through.” As Isaiah 49:23 reads, “Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” When you carefully listen to Him through every twist and turn of your journey, you will be astounded by what He unfolds in front of you.