One’s greatest achievement is creating value beyond the product. Ockert Marais, whose family has been farming in the Karoo since the late 1800s, intimately connects the experience of wholesome food with the art of living.
The Upper Karoo of the Northern Cape is home to South Africa’s most experienced sheep farmers. Ockert Marais, a farmer who grew up near the small town of Williston, found his purpose from his love for food.
Ockert has always had a great love for producing innovative meat products. His first experiment, which was a huge success with family and friends, was to incorporate that unique Karoo flavour in traditional recipes. He prepared mutton biltong and later mutton salami, which is traditionally made from beef or pork. Inspired by his success, Ockert opened Okki’s Deli in Williston’s main street.
In Williston, poverty is the order of the day. So, when Ockert started his business, he took to heart the advice of a wise old man who had said to him, “live and let live”. So, although the deli offered upmarket products such as pastrami, cheese wors, boerewors and leg of lamb, Ockert also created budget products for families who needed to put a wholesome plate of food on their tables.
The success of Okki’s Deli inspired Ockert to expand to other regions. Ziel Deli, situated at Preller Square in Bloemfontein, brings the soulfulness of the Karoo to the Free State.
Read more about Ockert Marais in his own words.