How did this South African Family Business Last Over 10 Generations?

Fanie van der Merwe; image courtesy of Boplaas 1743
The Family Business Voice
How did this South African Family Business Last Over 10 Generations?

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On this episode of The Family Business Voice, we spoke to Fanie van der Merwe, ninth-generation General Manager of Boplaas 1743, about stewardship, legacy, innovation and pragmatism.

Taking over from his father in the 1980s, Fanie has shouldered the responsibility of guiding the family business, a working farm that also accommodates guests, for more than three decades. Now, with the departure of his brother from the business after 28 of those years, he feels more than ever that instilling the value of stewardship in his sons and the generations that follow is his most important obligation.

– Boplaas has one foot firmly planted in the future. The company’s Marlenique Packhouse operates using 90 per cent renewable solar energy produced in their floating solar plant — an African first.

– At the same time, Boplaas embraces its history and the traditions that have grown up around it. The original farmyard was named a South African National Monument in 1973, with guests travelling from far and wide to get a sense of its heritage, enjoying its pastoral nostalgia.

– One of Boplaas’ core values is stewardship, and to Fanie, that means being part of something special — a link in the chain. Having this kind of perspective leads to long-term continuity and has served the van der Merwe family and Boplaas 1743 well.

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