Some people just stand out from the rest – shining and sparkling, they inspire and encourage. Sometimes it’s a youngster displaying courage and wisdom beyond his years, or it could be an ordinary person who makes a difference in someone’s life.  Perhaps it’s one who shares her small portion selflessly with others. White River is full of wonderful people and this page will help you know their name.

WRWR Articles on People of White River

Abeba Technologies

Thabo calls White River home and he matriculated at our highly regarded Uplands College. He loves local and his message to businesses here is to think big, which he certainly does. Could Abeba Tech be part of the digitization of the South African business flower market? That’s Thabo’s “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”.


Neil Jennings – Local Game Ranger

Neil’s average day starts at 5am and waking the guests up with a cup of coffee for their morning game drive. About four hours later they return for breakfast and if the guests are up to it, Neil takes them for an hour’s walk in the bush.


WR Entrepreneurs: Ndabe Msizi Kweyama

Ndabe credits an older cousin for exposing him to the business world and providing vital mentorship that opened up Ndabe’s rather rudimentary, linear view to what is possible in the wider scope of the financial world. ‘Think Big’ was the lesson he learned. He’s paid his dues and established a successful career for himself first at PricewaterhouseCoopers then with Ernst & Young in Johannesburg.


People of White River: Hudson Mabwe

Hudson Mabwe is a talented and hardworking man. His wire and bead creations are a familiar sight near the Spur on the R40. White River folk might have noticed that the animal lights we put up for last year’s #nightofthelights were Hudson’s handiwork.

He is a prolific producer of animals and plants in a variety of sizes, his largest being a 2.5 metre elephant.

The Zebra is his favourite, but Rhinos are the most popular amongst his customers, who include visitors from America, Britain and Singapore – so Hudson is helping spread Slowveld charm around the world!

He and his wife Stacey have lived in the area since 2009 and they have three children. Hudson says he learnt his craft from his two brothers – they clearly taught him well!

First prize for Hudson and Stacey would be to find a better place to base his business; “Hope Creative Art” these creations. If anyone has any ideas then you can get hold of him at 071 7436650


People of White River: Tracy Mashava

Tracy Mashava sells fruits and vegetables outside White River Primary. She gets up at 04:00 every morning to take a taxi from White River to the Nelspruit Fresh Produce Market. There she buys her fruit and veggies for the day and takes another taxi back to White River. Tracy has done this for the past three years to support her two children at home. She sells great looking bananas, tomatoes, grapefruit, avos, lemons and more. How about stopping by and supporting her once in a while?


Simon Sutherland

Through Rotary Simon has got stuck into many community projects ranging from sponsoring the SAPS monthly officer awards, assisting the SPCA, fundraising for various schools, to feeding orphans. Through the hotel he assists the local Hospice, Ma Esther’s orphanage, the local MOTHS, Laapeng centre, Millenum, Hlokomela Centre and the Children in Distress with Manna Church.


Dr Hein Van Wyk

Dr van Wyk is truly making a difference in his patient’s lives and this will surely continue as research in the field improves. This small-town doctor is making big strides in the field of stem-cell therapy and therefore gets our vote for being a “White River Star”.


richard spoor white river

Richard Spoor – Human Rights Attorney

Richard Spoor is a South African activist and human rights attorney based in White River Mpumalanga who has more than 25 years of experience in complex litigation. A pioneer throughout the past 20 years in the fight for workers’ rights and safety, Spoor has become what The American Lawyer called the “bête noir” of the South Africa Mining Industry because of his unwavering commitment to holding mining companies accountable for their alleged ill treatment of workers, who are some of the country’s most underprivileged citizens.


Quinton Coetzee

Quinton Coetzee is a national household name thanks to being an anchor for the popular and longest running programme on SABC – 50/50, and presenter of Veldfocus. And if you’re in the corporate world there is a good chance you might have been lucky enough to attend a conference either in South Africa or abroad at which Quinton was the guest speaker.


ludi botha white river

Ludi Botha

Ludi Botha: “Ek het ‘n passie vir Witrivier en die mense van die dorp.”
Ten spyte van die feit dat Ludi Botha nie in Witrivier gebore is nie, bly hy al so te sê sy hele lewe lank hier. Hy het by Laerskool Witrivier en Hoërskool Rob Ferreira skoolgegaan.


Prince Manqoba Dlamini

He’s a positive, vibrant man never seen without his trademark – a broad, warm smile that spreads across his face and lights up the air around him. And he is, indeed, a Royal Prince. His late father was a nephew and advisor to King Sobhuza II of Swaziland, and taught his son that duty to the community and to broader issues are paramount.


SAPS White River

Colonel Maphanga arrived at White River SAPS from Graskop in 2015, and has made himself at home in his new town. “I’m very happy to be here, it’s a lovely place” he comments. He makes sure he gets out into the field and into the community, being visible during police operations and present at the community projects taken on by the SAPS White River.


tinker white river

Andy & Lorrain Tinker

Andy Tinker: “We are so privileged to have been able to drive the two million hectare Kruger National Park over the past 20 years.”
Andy and Lorrain Tinker met in 1995, their mutual love of the bush becoming a catalyst for them to change course from their careers as a fashion photographer and medical doctor and immerse themselves in wildlife and landscape photography.


white river fire station

White River Fire Station

“Fire station?” we hear you ask. Yes. White River does have one, manned by 6 firemen working in four shifts and it’s situated next to the Licensing Department in Indus Road. Our little station, with its 10 000 litre water tanker, rescue vehicle and the traditional fire engine pump responds to fires in a huge area spanning Hazyview, Kabokweni, White River and supports the Central station as far afield as Ngodwana and Schoemanskloof.


Tracey Russell

Tracey Russell is a local White River Star, always buzzing around town with the ability to get an enormous number of tasks done seamlessly without fuss.


Unsung Heroes

One of the perks of working at We Are White River is that we come into contact with a variety of every day Stars quietly getting on with fixing things that need fixing and making White River a cleaner, better town without making song or dance of it. They grasp what being part of a community is all about – helpfulness, friendliness and connection.


working on fire

Working On Fire

Founded in 2003 and funded by government, Working on Fire is a job creation programme designed to meet the needs of local communities but which can also be deployed nationally in times of major fires. The programme falls under umbrella company Kishugu, which manages the recruitment and training of people in wildfire firefighting and suppression


Liz Mackintosh

Liz is continually amazed by how loving and caring these host families are. Long term friendships and family bonds are forged, overseas trips are organised and fundraising efforts are initiated. Minds and horizons, on both sides of the equator, are broadened. “It makes me proud to be part of this White River community of ours and gives me such hope for the future,” she remarks.


Raé Kirton – 2015 Business Woman of the Year

Business Woman of the Year is a competition organised by the South African Council for Business Woman. Entrants submit a portfolio with a business plan to the judges. Then a round of regional interviews are followed by national interviews in Pretoria. Judging is in 3 categories: corporate, entrepreneur and professional (Raé won the professional category), and the winners are revealed at an awards dinner.


Aggi de Aguiar – Casterbridge Music Development Academy

He may be known as ‘Grumps’ by some cheeky academy ‘graduates’, but Aggi gets the best out of his musical charges and the opportunities that have come their way are staggering. Experienced professional South African bands haven’t got the stellar CV’s that Aggi’s youth bands have – opening for and sharing the stage with the likes of Mango Groove, Allie Campbell (UB40), The Parlotones, Watershed, Elvis Blue…and the kids are going on to study and play music in Cape Town, Joburg and Los Angeles.


Dr Hendrik Toerien

The weight loss programme is the cornerstone of his thriving aesthetic business, bringing clients to White River from as far afield as Beira, Maputo, Zimbabwe, Piet Retief and Ermelo. He has two permanent and two part time Portuguese speaking employees to cope with the weekends when Face & Body Synergy bustles with Mozambican clients.



Sue Butowsky

Sue Butowsky: “I would like White River to become the Food Hub of Mpumalanga. There is lots of talent here and so many things to be proud of, we all need to work together as a team and then anything is possible.”


Michael Canadas

Michael was born in White River and from an early age exposed to the outdoors and African bush – growing up on the doorstep of the KNP tends to do that!


Rowan Torr – White River’s ‘Mr Fix-it’

If you see Rowan hurrying along in town one day, folder tucked under his arm, take a minute to greet him and express your appreciation for his tireless efforts. He’s a town asset, and that is why we’ve voted him a White River Star.


Dr Jack Swanepoel – Cartoonist

White River resident Dr Jack heals with laughter, dispensing wry, iconic cartoon sketches rather than medicine. His tall, lean bokbaardjie’d frame is a familiar sight around town, pursuing two of his passions – green living and unearthing the history of White River.