No Makietie for Mukhithi

The saying goes that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But Phillip Mukhithi just goes from strength to strength with all the effort he puts into farming. Phillip is a truly inspirational developing farmer. Not only did he buy his own farm, he is progressing very well in equipping himself to become a bigger and better farmer.

The 52-year-old Phillip describes himself as a serious commercial farmer. He bought his farm of 435 hectares between Klerksdorp and Wolmaransstad way back in 2007 and the journey up to now has seen him grow tremendously.

But let’s start at the beginning. He was born and raised in the Mara Village in Limpopo, where he attended Kranspoort Primary School. Then he went to Dzata and Mphephu High Schools in Venda.

He reminisces about his first encounter with farming as he used to come home to his mother Sarah after school, who worked on a farm. He especially loved the tractors. He knew then that he would like to have his own farm one day, even though he was somewhat resistant to farming in those days. However, that was when the first seeds were planted. “Later I fell in love with farming.”

What makes Phillip different is that was already an accomplished businessman before he tackled farming. He started his career as a security guard and then worked for 14 years in the telecommunications environment, during which he transferred to Klerksdorp. He was awared his his first security contracts in 2003 and is now the proud owner of his own security firm, Tshedza, employing over 1800 members of staff. To top it all, he also has his own fuel station in the nearby Northwest town of Potchefstroom. 


An African is defined by cattle, “A man with cattle, is a man.” That prompted him to enter the farming industry. His goal is not just to farm, but to become the change. “I am prepared to see the farming industry change.”

That love grew even further when he met Marthinus Verster. At the time he only had commercial cattle, when he was introduced to Brahmans. “Martiens talked about Stoetbrahman. It was then that my love for Brahmans started.” Martiens even took Phillip to auctions.

So passionate is he that he even names his Brahmans, with Chris being his first Brahman and Chief his next. “But sadly Chris is now gone.”


Maize-wise Philip currently plants less than 100 hectares on his farm but he is currently looking for another farm with between 200 and 300 hectares of arable land. He laughs as he remembers his journey: “I thought success was when the trailer was full of maize. Little did I know.” He only discovered the meaning of high tonnages later and now he sometimes gets as much as 3 tons per hectare.


One thing that he learned in business is that “you need people to assist you.” Here he is grateful for the assistance from Senwes, particularly from Senwes agronomist, Julias Ramohlabi. Julias worked hand-in-hand with Phillip, mentoring him about fertilisers and resource evaluation.  “It was something I never expected.” He further educates himself by attending all training and study opporutnities offered by Senwes.  Julias confirms  that “Phillip is truly committed.” 


Phillip tells us that he wants to diversify his business through framing. He admits that his current talent and knowledge relate to the security industry. That is why he introduced his daughter, Livhuwani (26), to farming. His idea is to let her run the farm so that she can learn what to do, and at the same time assist him and relieve some of the pressure. Livhuwani talks about the pressure on her father. “He is a committed worker and pushes himself harder each and every day. He made me love farming.” 

His motto

Phillip learned that “to make money in farming you must be focused.” He said that in 2014 he had a bad year. But staying true to his motto he will persevere. “I do not want to associate with failure. I always complete what I’m busy with.” Another thing is that he doesn’t back down from a challenge. “You face it and overcome it.”

And through it all there is one thing that Phillip teaches us all, namely that in business you need talent and love. Or in his case, a talent for security and a love for farming. In a way he represents the future of farming because with farming becoming a part of the global picture, farming will also move towards becoming an area to which investors will look with a view to diversifying their brands.

Phillip appeared on the recent Nation in Conversation series of Senwes. Readers can access the episode on Youtube at