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Oak Valley

Oak Valley

by Anthony Rawbone-Viljoen

Oak Valley Celebrates Its 125th Anniversary

On the 16th December 1898, Antonie Viljoen, founder of Oak Valley, bought a large but undeveloped piece of farmland for the sum of £4,000 pounds.
He did this against the best advice of his Caledon friends who “rebuked him for his folly in buying a worthless piece of hungry sourveld in the despised Groenland” as the Elgin Valley was known in those days.
Antonie reassured them that “nature never allows a vacuum” and set about proving his Caledon friends wrong.
He promptly placed orders for deciduous fruit trees with the Pickstone nursery in Paarl and planted the first commercial apple and pear orchard in Elgin. This marked the beginning of the apple industry in the region which it became famous for over time.
According to a recent Harvard study, family businesses have an average lifespan of 24 years. Only 40% survive to the 2nd generation, 13% to the 3rd generation and only 3% the 4th generation. The statistic for the 5th generation is not given, but Oak Valley has managed to beat the odds as my son, Christopher, is now the 5th generational successor. 
On this day, our 125th anniversary, we celebrate the contributions made by our forefathers. There’s a great responsibility to protect and preserve this beautiful part of the Cape. That’s the essence of what it means to be an ancestral landowner.
Have a blessed family Christmas and enjoy the festivities!
Anthony Rawbone-Viljoen

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