Who was Mr Cluver of Cluver Street – Stellenbosch?

Who was Mr Cluver of Cluver Street – Stellenbosch?

Where does the name Cluver street come from?

Just like Ryneveld Street and Andringa Street, Cluver Street was named after a mayor, or ‘landdros’, as it was known those days.

Paul August Carl Dietrich Cluver was Stellenbosch’s mayor between 1914 and 1921. His father was a German pastor and his brothers attorneys like himself.

Reino Otterman writes in an interesting article that the family of the German pastor Friedrich Clüver lived in Stellenbosch.

His daughter Johanne Clüver was part of a German women’s group who did a lot of community work in the area. Her brothers, AlbertPaul and FA Cluver, were lawyers.


The beginning of a legal firm

It was with the Cluver brothers that the ‘Cluver’ branch of the legal firm Cluver-Markotter started:

Reino Otterman writes:

  • The Cluver heritage dates back to October 1891, when Paul August Carl Dietrich Cluver was admitted as attorney and started to practice at 6 Bird Street, Stellenbosch, under the name of PD Cluver.
  • Paul Cluver was a prominent public figure and played a meaningful role in the Stellenbosch community. He served as Mayor of Stellenbosch from 1914 to 1921, and from 1927 to 1930 he served as member on the Provincial Board. He was held in such high esteem on local management level that he became the first person to be nominated as honorary lifelong member of the Municipal Association of the Cape.
  • In July 1916 his brothers, FA Cluver and AH Cluver, joined him as professional assistants. In 1932 he changed the name of the firm to Paul & AH Cluver, with FA and AH Cluver being appointed as associates. After 62 years as a practising attorney, AH Cluver was granted Honorary Membership by the Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope in 1965 . In 1950 Ralph Paul Cluver, son of AH Cluver, joined his father’s practice and remained as a partner, until his retirement in 1980.


The firm later merged with Markotter Basson & Marais, another local law firm.

Mr AF Markotter, or Oubaas Mark, wasn’t only a well-known rugby player, but also a good lawyer. He was the first chief executive of the Stellenbosch Execute Chamber, founded in 1916.


What about Paul Cluver wines?

Another famous Cluver is Paul Cluver of the famous wine estate Paul Cluver wines in the Elgin Valley.

The founder of the farm, Paul Frederich de Villiers Cluver , was recently honoured internationally for his work as a wine farmer, innovative thinker and philanthropist.

The website www.wine.co.za writes about him:

  • Paul Frederich de Villiers Cluver has been described as an exemplary businessman, an innovative fruit farmer, a pioneering wine farmer and a philanthropist. His leadership skills have resulted in him serving on the boards of various national and international companies. He is regarded as one of the best qualified neurosurgeons in the world with four medical degrees to his name. In addition to which he has been awarded an honorary doctorate in agriculture. […]


If you want to find out more about the law firm Cluver Markotter, click here. The link to Paul Cluver Wines is here.

For more information about influential Germans in Stellenbosch’s heritage, read Reino Otterman’s fascinating article here.

For more trivia about where Stellenbosch street names come from, read about Andringa Street and Van Ryneveld Street here.


Article and translations: Y Coetsee 2017
Sources: Stellenbosch Drie Eeue 1979
Duitsers op Stellenbosch, deur Reino Ottermann

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