RSA Group Reflections April 2024

Dear friends

Many decades ago, the American baseball star Babe Ruth offered up a lovely piece of life wisdom. “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die,” he said. I can think of no better, or more important, insight as our community grapples with the sudden passing of Vito Rugani, a true legend of South African fresh produce, and agriculture.

Amidst all the pain and shock, it has been heart warming to see so many Vito stories flowing from so many hearts. About his way with people. His talent as an agri businessman. His passion for developing and growing the lives of all the people he worked with…

Losing someone of Vito’s magnitude so unexpectedly has forced us to step back and take stock of life. One of the biggest lessons is how important it is for every one of us to truly value the time we are lucky enough to spend with the legends among us. None of us can know how long we will have in their presence. Every moment should be treasured.

Vito Rugani’s legacy runs deep. The innovation and passion with which he approached agri business radiates through Greenway Farms and the Rugani Juice brand. These businesses – both deeply entrenched in the daily life of South Africa – pay living testimony to Vito’s talent for life, business and agriculture. Knowing Vito for as long as I have, and having watched Greenway Farms prosper over the years, there is no doubt in my mind that his relentless pursuit of quality and value will continue to set the industry standard for many years to come.

I have also always admired the way in which Vito and Vincent Sequeira have embraced the involvement of family in their work. True legends enable and empower those around them.

This has always been fundamentally true of Vito and Vincent, and it all started at home. The deep involvement of several generations of the Rugani and Sequeira families in the business has laid an incredibly strong foundation, from which Greenway Farms offers crucial life and career development opportunities for South Africans from all walks of life.

As the old saying goes, we live on long after our passing, right up to the point that our name finally falls off the lips of those who remain behind. Looked at from this perspective, Vito will stay with South African agriculture for a very, very long time. This is what happens with legends. They leave us with feelings and memories, of course, but also with profound ways of thinking, living and working as we move through the world. For this we should be grateful.

So, as difficult and sudden as it is, we have no choice now but to say goodbye to an old friend, a mentor, and an authentic legend, in every sense of the word.

Vito, we will always keep you in our hearts. And we will always miss you.

Best wishes
Jaco Oosthuizen