About The Grit Ambassadors
We recognise that Grit touchs many lives outside of African real estate. Our brands were born from an indomitable belief in the potential of the continent and its people. We recognise and celebrate the qualities of guts, resilience, innovation, and tenacity demonstrated by our brand ambassadors and the inspiration they bring to many. It’s our privilege to play a part in the pursuit of their passions and the many lives they impact in the process.
Moira Van Der Westhuizen
When Grit Chief Operating Officer Moira van der Westhuizen moved to Mauritius 12 years ago, little did she know that she’d soon be mom to a menagerie of animals including retired race horses, a cow, dogs, cats, a goat, seven monkeys, chickens, ducks, rabbits, tortoises, Mauritian “flying foxes” (fruit bats) and a tenrec called Peanut.
When Moira first moved to the island, her compassion and love for animals made it very difficult for her to see so many stray dogs roaming the streets and beaches of Mauritius. Turning a blind eye is not in Moira’s DNA and so she got involved with local animal welfare organisation, PAWS. Over the years, Moira made it her mission to raise awareness on the importance of sterilisation and fair treatment of animals in the Mauritian community.
She also started rescuing animals in her personal capacity and brought them home whenever there wasn’t capacity at the shelter. To date she has seven rescued dogs plus her 15 year old Uzzi, a Jack Russell that she brought from South Africa. In 2010, Moira’s eyes opened to the world of horses. Her then husband convinced her that they should buy a stake in a racehorse and this is where Moira’s love affair with these animals started. On meeting September Wind in quarantine, she made a promise to look after him for the rest of his life and after one year of racing, which included two wins, she decided to retire and stabled him at Mon Choisy in the north of the island. The day September Wind arrived at the Mon Choisy stables, Moira noticed another horse that looked very neglected and depressed. His name was Captain’s Cheer and he was due to be put to sleep that day. Moira contacted the vet who confirmed that the only reason for putting Captain’s Cheer down was because his racing career was over. Without hesitation, Moira adopted him and still today Captain’s Cheer is a happy horse grazing in the paddocks.
Another four horses were rescued shortly afterwards. One day Moira came across a pig pen with extremely emaciated, injured, and neglected pigs living in terrible conditions. Again, without hesitation she spoke to the owners and bought all 17 pigs. With all these pigs and a growing number of horses, Moira decided that it was time to set up her own farm.. She found a perfect piece of land just outside Grand Baie that eventually became known as All Life Matters Animal Sanctuary . After a few years of running the farm, with an ever growing number of all kinds of animals and mounting expenses, Moira decided to start a non-profit organisation which led to All Life Matters Animal Sanctuary (“ALM”) being officially registered in 2017 with the Mauritius Registrar of Associations and as a Charitable Institution with the Mauritius Revenue Authority. The running costs for ALM amounts to approximately MUR700 000 (around US$ 17 500) per month and the organisation employs 14 staff to care for the animals. In addition to the animal sanctuary, ALM has a veterinary clinic and a small shelter catering for dogs and cats. The main focus of the ALM vet clinic is the sterilization of dogs and cats and whenever possible, the vet team hosts sterilisation days at various villages across the island. ALM have also been responsible for rehoming hundreds of dogs and cats to their forever homes both in Mauritius and abroad.
For Moira, ALM doesn’t only positively impact on the welfare of animals. The sanctuary has also provided an opportunity for its employees to do what they are most passionate about: working with animals, which have had a remarkably positive impact on their own lives and those of their families.
Although not a petting zoo, ALM does welcome visitors on organised days, especially school excursions where a lot of emphasis is placed on education. Mauritius’ Champ de Mars Racecourse is the oldest in the southern hemisphere and racehorses in Mauritius are revered like soccer stars in other parts of the world. Having some former racing legends put to pasture at ALM is a big drawcard and a welcome opportunity to teach children that animals are more than mere commodities. This has also allowed Moira to introduce education and awareness of other areas that she is very passionate about, including caring for the environment and sustainability.
All Life Matters currently has three sponsors, including Grit, with some of the animals being individually sponsored.
All Life Matters is a registered NGO, Number 15289.
Donations to this worthy cause can be made at:
Mauritius Commercial Bank account number: 000446031461
PayPal: [email protected]
Grit salutes the continuous efforts and difference that All Life Matters makes in a very often overwhelming and stressed world of animal welfare. We strongly align with the qualities of compassion, revolutionary thinking and determination against the odds and are very proud of our association with All Lives Matters Animal Sanctuary.
Cricket all-rounder Simon Harmer didn’t follow the conventional path most other national cricketers take to the top of their game.
Yet, this spinner and right-arm off-break bowler took more first class wickets than any other bowler in 2018. More recently, Harmer was named among five international cricketers of the year in the 2020 edition of the authoritative Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. He played five tests for cricket mad South Africa’s national team, the Proteas, before pursuing his career abroad with a Kolpak contract with Essex in English county cricket.
During his stint in the South African national team he bagged 20 wickets against the sport’s greats such as the West Indies, Bangladesh and India, at an economy rate of less than 30 runs per wicket. Harmer captained Essex to the T20 Blast title in 2019 and delivered a stand-out performance both at the crease and with the ball in the final against Worcestershire at Edgbaston in Birmingham. He was also part of the Jozi Stars’ title-winning campaign in the inaugural edition of the Mzansi Super League in 2018.
Following the dissolvement of a ruling in terms of his Kolpak contract that made him ineligible for the South African national squad, Harmer is at a crossroads in his cricketing career as he weighs up the financial security of playing abroad against the pride and ambition of representing his country at the highest level. Regardless of his decision, Simon is by no means a stranger to doing things the unconventional and hard way.
“I didn’t come through the usual systems such as SA schools,” Harmer explains. “I started playing second team university cricket in Port Elizabeth, and through sheer performance and determination worked my way up the ranks. It boils down to how badly you want it – what sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve your goals,” he adds.
Simon was introduced to Grit during the Company’s involvement with the Oakley X-Over Challenge, which is partially a charitable drive at the Jeffreys Bay Winterfest in South Africa, where he became friends with Grit co-founder Greg Pearson.
In 2019 Simon met up with the Grit team in Nairobi, Kenya for the Last Male Standing Rhino Cup to commemorate the life of Sudan, at the time the last known male northern white rhino and to raise awareness of the plight of this near-extinct species. Established in 2015, the Last Male Standing Rhino Cup attracts close to 200 cricketers from across the world who come together for three days in June on a ground surrounded by wildlife and shadowed by the snow-capped Mount Kenya, to support Ol Pejeta Conservancy and rhino protection campaigns globally.
The Grit team and Simon share a passion for empowering youngsters through sport and they bonded during a cricket initiation session at Kawangware Primary School, a beneficiary of the Last Male Standing initiative.
As and ambassador of Grit, Simon promotes the Company wherever he can through brand awareness, such as name placement on his cricket bat. Simon’s excellent performance with Essex was especially fortuitous as Grit listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange – becoming the first company to do so – at around the same time.
Grit celebrates Simon’s indomitable spirit and conviction to live his passion, making his own luck despite it not being an easy road. As pioneers of African real estate, these are values we recognise and strongly resonate with. Simon, we salute you!
Simon’s English County Cricket Most Valuable Player Rankings
Simon has been ranked as English County Cricket’s Most Valuable Player for both 2019 and 2020. During 2020’s disrupted season, he finished on 268 overall index points and was the leading wicket taker for the season.
Cutting it in the highly competitive world of professional surfing takes more than raw talent. The lifestyle is often romanticised but like any professional athlete will tell you – what spectators don’t see is the hours and hours of training, the sacrifice of a social life and the huge cost burden of competing. It’s the reason why passion and dedication sometimes outweigh heaps of talent. But once in a while one finds the rare combination of superior talent matched by passion that will stay the course.
Although 14 year old Surprise Mpanza was literally born into surfing, it wasn’t until he was 10 years old that he stood on a surfboard. In fact, before that he couldn’t even swim.
Surprises’ father, Jakes Mpanza has been working for Jason Ribbink, an internationally renowned surfer and owner of Bilt Surfboards in Durban, South Africa for several years. Surprise grew up with Jason’s son and the two of them took up skateboarding together. It was his talent on a skateboard that first caught Jason’s eye and he realised that they had to get Surprise in the water.
Surprise’s competitive spirit and big heart almost cost him dearly when at Nippers (surf lifesaving training for children between 5 and 13) he ran into the ocean and promptly sunk because he couldn’t swim. The coach had to literally rescue him. When asked why he ran into the water knowing he couldn’t swim, his response was that he’s in a competition, and he wanted to win!
Within a year, Surprise was riding normal boards and training with the high performance surfing academy at Durban’s North Shore. In his second year of competing, he won the Under 12 Billabong National Series.
According to Head Coach at the High Performance Surfing Academy, former pro surfer and national champion Chad du Toit, Surprise often expects more from himself than any coach can. Du Toit rates him as one of top 14 year old surfers in the country, if not the top 15 or top 20 in the world. Having sponsorships is a huge deal for any surfer – from confidence levels of having sponsors’ stickers on your board to being at an event and having that backing.
Greg Pearson, co-founder of Grit as well as Gateway’s philosophy has always been that when you come from humble beginnings you sometimes need a helping hand in getting to where you need to be. Putting action to his words, Greg initially supported Surprise from his own pocket on an ad-hoc basis, until such time he could secure sponsors. But a leg-up means nothing without dedication, hard work and an exceptional work ethic and it’s Surprise’s never say die outlook and passion that speaks directly to Grit and Gateway’s values.
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. We salute Surprise and his mentors for their tireless pursuit of being the best of the best.
At age 27, Brian Furcy is a Mauritian surf sensation. Born and raised in Tamarin, he started surfing at age 11, under the watchful eyes of his uncle, Toyo Bauda and his friend Gunther, who are pioneers of surfing in Mauritius.
Having won Mauritius’ first surfing competition in many years held in October 2020, it was only natural for Furcy to become a brand ambassador for Grit Real Estate Africa (“Grit” or “the Company”) and its development associate, Gateway Real Estate Africa (“GREA”). The surfing competition, hosted by Grit and GREA as main sponsors, took place off Grand Sancho point break as a community moral booster shortly after the island nation emerged from its first hard economic lockdown following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Grit remains passionate about youth development through sport as it is an important tool in addressing socio-economic challenges across the globe. In addition to Brian, Grit also sponsors other international up-and-coming young surfers.
According to Furcy, surfing has kept him on the right path and has taught him more than school in recent years. His hopes are to pay this forward one day by helping to develop other Mauritian and African surfers.
Grit knows that for professional sports people like Brian, the inability to travel and represent their countries in sporting events across the world resulted in severe financial consequences.
With international travel restrictions being lifted, it is important for Brian to ensure he is in the best possible shape when returning to international competition as a contender in the World Surf League. Being able to get to the various point breaks across the island without a hassle is a crucial part of the preparation.
To this end, and to promote the launch of The Precinct, Grit’s state-of-the-art new head office development in Mauritius, the Company together with GREA donated a branded new Suzuki Jimny to Brian for the next year. This will allow him to travel around the island unrestricted for training, promotional and other commitments.