Johann du Plooy arrived in Perth with his family in 2006 and he was forced to face the toughest challenge of his career – initiating the process of starting over. Migration altered the way Johann looked at life. In order to succeed in new ventures he would need to embrace a different perspective, outside that of his regular comfort zone.
In 2009, three years after having a ‘divine inspiration’ one Saturday morning, Johann opened the doors of Mufasa Biltong shop in Currambine.
Through his successes Johann gained in confidence, and became aware of many more opportunities in this beautiful country. He firmly believes in the saying ‘Carpe Diem’ meaning ‘Seize the Day’! Being exposed to the vulnerability of having to rely on outside suppliers, Johann opened a factory in Wangara (MeatsWA) to market his own produce. Running a factory meant employing more staff, and more staff increased overheads, which in turn led to expansion and growth. Today, eleven years on, he is exceptionally grateful for every turn of events.
The secret of his success he puts down to hard work, loyal staff, love for what he does and the grace of God. The employees work together as one big family and their clients are always their number one priority. Working with the public, having a wide network of friends and contacts, and knowing that he is doing his utmost to deliver the best produce possible, keeps Johann motivated. He thoroughly enjoys his job.
His academic knowledge (not a lot of people know that he holds a Ph.D in Psychology from Free State University in South Africa !) comes in very handy when dealing with customers. ‘Many clients will discuss personal issues about adjusting, uncertainty in the workplace or dealing with child behaviour and by drawing on experience, I can often help by giving direction pertaining to their social or emotional adjustment. I have helped many people find employment and I enjoy watching how they eventually come to relish Australia as much as I do,’ says Johann.
One of the best parts of his job is, of course, working with his sons Hanru and Marinus and seeing how they own their own shops.
They too are becoming successful entrepreneurs whilst maintaining their own identities and initiatives. The downside of the business is that an extended family holiday is not really feasible as should one family travel, the others are required to cover their business for them in the interim.
Johann’s passion for making biltong has been a part of him since he can remember. A friend in South Africa initially showed Johann the finer art to making good biltong, and after refining this art along with his grandma Katie’s recipe, Johann was ready to open his first biltong shop in Perth.
Naturally, the most important ingredient is good quality meat as quality meat renders quality biltong.
A personal favourite recipe of Johann’s is biltongpotjie (biltong stew) with which many competitions have been won. His prized recipe can be found on his website, www.mufasabiltong.com.
If he could turn back the clock to 2009 and possess the knowledge he has today, he would have been far more adventurous. ‘At first I was so anxious to make a success of my business that I missed opportunities to grow and to develop my skills. I now feel more confident and embrace new opportunities when they come my way,’ says Johann.
Johann and his wife Rusta have many plans for the future!
Their current focus is to strategize for the future as they realise that a time will come when they are unable to work. The planning would definitely have been easier had they migrated to Australia at a younger age and although this does cross their minds and at times saddens them, they realise their good fortune as their children and grandchildren will benefit from their migration.
Johann’s message to his fellow expat South Africans is to maintain their South African traditions. Although kids no longer speak Afrikaans, teach them to enjoy biltong, how to have a genuine braai and the skills to making a good bobotie. Instil in your children the pride of being South African-Australians!