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Crawford von Abo - Another giant in the maize industry passes on

27 Jun 2022

Chairperson's Message


Crawford von Abo ~ May he Rest In Peace

Oom Crawford Von Abo was one of our founding fathers who showed us how to stand up for what is right. How not to accept the unacceptable just because it is politically expedient. It all started when the maize farmers where working for fair representation within the maize comity of the SAAU so as not to have other industry players make decisions that were not sustainable and conducive to sustainable growth of the maize farmers. Oom Crawford was elected to the first Executive (Hoofbestuur and Dagbestuur) of SAMPI (South African Maize Producer Institute).
Together with his friends Hennie Delport, Fanie Ferreira and Giep Nel – who comprised the first Dagbestuur – they lead the organisation of the maize farmers into an industry body that sought self-determination of economic viability and sustainability. Their sense of what is fair and right, apolitical, and in the interest of the farmers’ sustainability, is the foundation on which our maize industry stands today.
My earliest memories of Oom Crawford are the SAMPI Harvest days of the late sixties and early seventies when as a young boy accompanying my dad you would hear the name Crawford van Abo (Organiser of the day), called over the loud haler from the back of a trailer as the farmers moved from one demonstration to the next. He and his maize farmer friends committed totally to the cause.
Oom Crawford, throughout his life was testimony to the ten most powerful two letter words. IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME! He was never afraid to take on any force that was acting unjustly, as was seen in his relentless fight with the governments of both Zimbabwe and South Africa in the madness that was the Zimbabwe land grab saga.
I had the distinct privilege to chat to Oom Crawford on a few occasions this year. The last being our NAMPO Harvest Day in May. It was an honour for me to have been able to tell him, that I don’t believe that group of men will ever understand the significance of what they did back in 1966. I believe it was the beginning of a South African society standing up for what is fair and right. One of the examples is that the government doesn’t always know best or do the right thing. Stand up and make your voice heard.
To the von Abo family I would like to firstly offer my deepest condolences and on behalf of Grain South Africa we as farmers wish to sincerely thank you as family for allowing Oom Crawford the space to serve us with such distinction. May you as family find comfort in the memories and solace in the Lord during this time of grief.
Rest In Peace Crawford von Abo “LEGEND“

Crawford von Abo at the 2022 NAMPO Harvest Day, here with
Geoff Allem (left) en Rhys Rolfe (right)