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An Ode to a GWF Legend


One of GWF’s longest-standing team members is leaving the team officially.

Lulani Vermeulen has been a GWF’er since before GWF was GWF. Lulani’s most recent role has been as Campus Manager at Philippolis Digital Learning Campus (PDLC) but her long-term plan has always been full-time farming, and the day has finally arrived.


In December 2005, Lulani, Boyd Varty and myself joined forces with the communities of Philippolis and Bergmanshoogte and built the Bergmanshoogte Preschool in Philippolis. I remember this as GWF’s first ever project and we did it armed with a small book called “DIY Building.”


The preschool still stands. It stands well in fact, and this is testament to the “get it done” attitude of Lulani. In Afrikaans there is a saying: “’n Boer maak a plan.” This translates to “a farmer makes a plan” and in my view there is no-one who owns that saying quite like Lulani.


After we saw what Lulani was capable of we decided it would be prudent not to let her too far out of our sights and, before long, her blood ran pink. There was nothing this amazing woman couldn’t do and if she did not know how, she loved figuring things out.

We spent whole days on the preschool roof trying to find leaks. We made our own bricks. We fixed the road to the cemetery with a gabion that Lulani designed herself and then we filled it with what felt like a million stones collected from the Karoo veld.

And of course, the other thing that Lulani can do is braai (barbecue) and we are often spoilt with grass-fed meat that she has reared on her farm. We think Lulani would definitely win Ultimate Braai-master if she entered. We’re pretty sure that all the volunteers from the UK that Lulani has hosted through GWF over the years would agree.

While studying at Stellenbosch University Lulani continued to work with GWF during the holidays. She slowly built our impact in Philippolis as Campus Manager, growing a strong and wonderful team and has encouraged its continual progress as our programmes evolved. In fact we’re very pleased to share that our new Philippolis Campus Manager is Milla van Wyk, another long-time GWF’er.

Lulani is, and will always be, an integral part of the GWF story and its beginnings in Philippolis. Her endless energy, love, her deep respect for all the people of Philippolis, and all the buildings she has been part of creating will be a part of the Pink story forever.

We wish her well as she begins to farm full-time and will miss her dearly.

Thank you Lulani. ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan!


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