Hilton Barnett

Hilton Barnett has 20 years’ experience working in and with organisations across 7 countries, developing effective working relationships through positive culture. Working mainly in mining and related industries, he also has experience in other sectors, including banking, government departments, educational and child welfare institutions and a range of small organisations, including non-profit work.

Hilton provides leadership advice to schools and supports work with AIDS orphans in South Africa, as well as developing local entrepreneurs and advising community organisations. He is on the board of the Casterbridge Music Development Academy in White River.

Hilton has a Bachelor of Social Science from UCT and an MA Psychology from Sydney University. He is very happily married to Kate and they are extremely proud of their two sons, Thomas and William. The family moved to White River in 2006 and have set down firm roots in the town. Thomas is studying at UCT while William attends Uplands College.

Kate has been a major contributor to environmental awareness at Uplands and to the Local-lish-us local eating concept (see their Facebook page Local-Lish-Us). Hilton has a vision for a proud and resilient White River community that works together; promotes its strengths and looks after the environment = We Are White River


“White River may be a teeny pixel on Google Maps, however, our lives redesigned themselves after my husband, youngest son and I migrated here in 2009.  We laugh about the Slowveld and Sleepy Hollow but actually it’s hard to find anyone living in White River who hasn’t grown and developed wonderfully, thriving in the fertile soil here.

Life is not necessarily easier, but the pace kicks back and the community warmth more than makes up for the sometimes chilly climate and the inevitable shortcomings of living in a small town.

With the chicks fledged and my “other half” toiling away in other parts of Africa I plunged into a mid-life reinvention which presented itself after Live Lightly Times, the Uplands environmental newsletter, tickled me into following a new path.  Eager to give something back to the place and community which has become home and family, I’m delighted to join Hilton and Charlotte at We Are White River.  I truly believe that unity brings strength and growth.  It’s delightful to delve beneath the surface of White River, unearthing nuggets of history and creative talent and exposing the enormous heart beating at our core.” – Tracy Brooks

Larissa Bester

Larissa Bester has been living in White River for the past six years after moving here from Pretoria with her husband. She has a BA Language and Culture degree from Stellenbosch University and an International Baccalaureate Diploma from the International School of Beijing. She’s lived in Beijing, Hong Kong, Stellenbosch, and Pretoria, but she fell in love with White River and its people.

Larissa worked at Lowvelder as subeditor and loves writing and working with people. She has a passion for community and loves staying in a place where one has a sense of belonging. Life is certainly more laid back here than in Pretoria and it is wonderful not to have the stress of traffic and always having to be in a rush!

Larissa is happily married to Werner and they have a three-and-a-half year old son Reuben who keeps them both really busy! White River is a wonderful place to raise children as it is safe and there are a myriad things to do in and around town to keep the little ones busy.

She is passionate about We Are White River and loves networking and talking to people and finding out where one can make a difference. What a privilege it is to work for a company where positivity is the heartbeat of the organisation!

terran gericke we are white river

Terran Gericke fled the city for a bit of time out and quickly discovered that White River bustles with the best of them!  She has a wealth of experience both in South Africa and England in managing busy offices and events in all sectors including NPO’s; which means her organisation and management skills have been put to work in the We Are White River office. Terran prides herself in being the support structure that turns abstract ideas into actions.

She has very quickly found her feet in White River.  It’s true that this town is the warm heart of the Lowveld – people are quick to offer a warm welcome and make strangers feel at home. Being hard working, highly self-motivated, enthusiastic and willing to try anything (well, once anyway!) She has discovered her niche in a wonderful, positive organisation that is dedicated to making a constructive difference to life and business in White River.

Terran exclaims, “This dorpie in the Not-So-Slowveld rocks!”

Charlotte Senini Mortlock is our Canadian import.  She has been travelling back and forth between the Lowveld and Canada since accepting a design internship with Lowveld Living magazine in 2009.  Permanently based in White River for the past four years, Charlotte recently married Roger and they live with their fur-baby/cat Chuva.  She has a degree in visual communication and five years of experience with web and graphic design, and her passion for this project is making sure that the site and the design work we do is beautiful.

Cutting short a long story as to how she ended up in the Lowveld and stayed, let’s just say she fell in love. With the country, the people, the bush and all things slowveld. Charlotte is enthusiastic about the importance of community and communication and her urge to make White River the best little town that it can be is what has brought her to We Are White River.

A long time ago, Charlotte started blogging to capture her life in South Africa, The Traffic Lights Are Robots. (Sadly, she has been far too busy this past year getting married in Canada and traveling, and her blog has been quite neglected.  That’ll be remedied soon.)