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WATCH | 'I had to drop out of school to help my dad put bread on the table' - This man worked at Ford SA for 47 years

2019-12-13 12:21

Image: Quickpic

If there's one thing that people don't know about Ford South Africa, it's that their employees are extremely loyal. Graham Boswell is proof of that. He retired in September 2019 after having served the company for 47 years.

Ford is celebrating his remarkable career after having served the company for more than four decades.

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "I once heard how incredibly loyal Ford plant employees are, to the point where there are industry strikes, they almost want to fight because they don't want to participate in protests. Hearing about Graham Boswell and his 47 years of service just iterates the kind of calibre of the Ford family."

It all started in Port Elizabeth on 8 May 1972 where Boswell began his career at Ford’s Neave vehicle plant while at the same time, following in the footsteps of his father who worked for the company for almost 30 years.

Long-standing love affair

"I remember that day clearly. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, and I can still remember being shown around the plant and seeing all the departments," Boswell says.

READ | Ford SA, local government plan to create 7 000 jobs with new partnership to bolster economy

"I had to drop out of school to help my dad put bread on the table because we were nine brothers and two sisters. My father always told us that Ford was a great company to work for. Ford has been very good to the Boswell family, giving us the opportunity to grow and develop as part of the business," he adds.

It was a case of humble beginnings for Boswell, first starting out in stores then joining the Fire and Safety team and then eventually moving to the Struandale Engine Plant.

"We used to walk to work, which was around 15km away. My dad said that we mustn’t worry, because one day our yard will be full of Fords," he says.

"I remember that my dad didn’t have enough money to buy a car, so I gave him R300 pocket money I had saved up to use as a deposit for a car, and that was how we got our first vehicle, a Cortina pickup, from the staff garage. It cost about R600 at the time."


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Graham fondly remembers his very first car, a special edition Springbok Cortina sedan, and also how he used to walk large distances to get to work. He currently drives an EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Titanium which he bought for his retirement.

He also owns a orange 1971 Ford Taunus 17M V4 which his son bought for him to tinker with during retirement.

"My absolute favourite car is the Ford Fairlane 500, but of the new vehicles the Ranger Wildtrak is the one I would love to own," he admits.

"The Boswells all have blue blood. We love Ford, we live, sleep and breathe Ford, and the Ford family is our family. There are a lot of other families at the Struandale Engine Plant, and all of them appreciate working for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa," Boswell states.

Keeping it in the family

The Boswell name is well-known in Ford circles. Graham's daughter Tania, his brother Derick’s daughters Anthea and Roelien, along with his other brother, Greg’s son, Sydney, currently ply their trade at the Struandale Engine Plant, working various departments from communications to logistics and engine assembly.

"Ford is very much a family-oriented company, founded by Henry Ford in 1903, and is currently led by his great-grandson, Bill Ford, who is the executive chairman. It is fantastic to see this kind of legacy in our South African operations where three generations of the same family have grown up living the brand and contributing to its success," says Neale Hill, MD of FMCSA.


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"On behalf of Ford Motor Company, we honour Graham Boswell and thank him for his dedication to the company over all these years. The Boswell family is an integral part of Ford’s history in Port Elizabeth, and they set an outstanding example for others to follow," Hill adds.

"I really want to thank the Ford family for the great opportunities it has given the Boswell family. I pass through the exit gate with a happy heart, knowing that the family I leave here are in safe hands and within a great working environment," Boswell concludes.

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Compiled by: Robin Classen

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