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Because it makes you happy

The PALS formula’s successful design relies on strict and proven business and legal principals. It is so well though out, in fact one can say it is a clinical procedure. Almost like a science. Yet, the deeper reason for existence is actually pure emotion.

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The PALS initiative was born out of a mixture of frustration and a need to do something to stop the potential haemorrhaging that looming land reform or possibly even worse, land grabbing threats could have on an already bruised South Africa.

Some people are arguing that the reason for commercial farmers getting involved in PALS projects where emerging black farmers with earmarked land are being mentored to become successful commercial farmers as well landowners are doing it purely because of the selfish reason of safeguarding their own land. When looking at the numerous up and running and profitable PALS projects established since 2014, this argument does not hold water. At grassroots, the essence of PALS is all about the people.

It is true that our history is rife with injustices caused by many people to many people through the years. It is also just as true that the majority of South Africans of all different colours and creeds are non-violently striving towards peaceful and functional co-existence. Only a small radical element is attempting to derail the process, for selfish gain at the expense of the rest. The majority wants to make it work, wants to make South Africa work. For all South Africans. PALS is there as part of this majority. PALS is there for the people.

Maybe it all has to do with endorphins. The website Medical News Today states that “volunteering, donating, and helping others will make a person feel good. It activates pleasure centres in the brain. This may lead to improved endorphin levels.” Endorphins, the positive feel-good chemicals produced by the body relieve stress and pain, creating a feel-good state. And a universal truth about homo sapience is that, in general, we all want to feel good. And what better way to feel good than when you help a fellow human being to be in a better place? To partner with someone for the sake of bettering their lives? The essence of PALS is the fact that its existence is built on partnerships. And for a partnership to succeed, the partners must look out for each other, having each other’s backs. There must be happiness between the partners.

What is happiness?

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: Someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for,” Tom Bodett, American author once wrote.

Look at the first of his three requirements for happiness in relation to a PALS project: There are two partners in the project, the established commercial farmer and the emerging farmer. Both are in this partnership because of someone or more than one that they love. Their family. Secondly there is “something to do” which is very clearly farming the land, producing food for the people and lastly Tom Bodett mentions something to hope for. Are we not all hoping to grow together into a new and functioning South Africa for all? The PALS formula is offering that hope.

In short, it is all about the people, the partnerships and feeling good about what you do to create happiness. Again, what is happiness? It’s simple, says folk singer, Donovan:

Happiness runs in a circular motion
Thought is like a little boat upon the sea
Everybody is a part of everything anyway
You can have everything if you let yourself be
Happiness runs, happiness runs
You can have everything if you let yourself be

Why? O, because …

Because it makes you happy.


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