Man enough for a man’s job


Lizel in morning 11 07


Sounds scary? I am pretty scared. Four weeks ago I was a pre-school teacher. I spent most of my time being a mother and a housewife. Now I am a man in charge of 7 men and half a dozen women, running the Stormhoek vineyards.

My name is Lizel Brown. I am 30 years old and keen to show that I can do this job. My husband was the vineyard manager. A few months ago he began to get sick. His lungs were weak. He just got weaker and weaker and the doctors couldn’t help.  He began to talk of dying and then he died.

I have been put in charge. I thought I knew a lot about how things are done here. 10 years of living with Melvin was good training. But now I see that what I don’t know is more than what I know.

I have a lot of support. There are a lot of experts here to guide and train me. Even the people I supervise show me what to watch out for. Because I have been living here, I know everybody well, and I have walked all over this beautiful vineyard and farm dozens of times.

I’m sure I will be able to do it. But it is still scary. There are men in my team  old enough to be my father and they have never taken orders from a woman before. I will work alongside them and I will take courses. And I will listen closely. And I will try not to get too upset if things don’t go the way I hope.

This morning the team needed one more person to go to do a special job. I said "I’ll go". One of the men said "No, we need a man." I said "I’m a man" and I went.

I would like to tell my story from time to time. My ups and downs.  If there is anyone out there who has had this kind of problem, I would love to know.    

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