Stellenbosch Heritage: how the  Ruperts came to town

Stellenbosch Heritage: how the Ruperts came to town

How one family’s name became synonymous with our town.  

The Rupert surname is one that is recognisable all over the world. Yet, not many know the winding roads that had to be travelled to reach the heights they’ve reached.

The legacy starts with Anton Rupert, who wanted to be a doctor but ended up studying Chemical Engineering, due to lack of financial resources.

Anton was a true entrepreneur, with fingers in various pies, and had a keen eye for spotting a business opportunity. He started with a dry cleaning shop, and during this time of the Depression, he observed that the economic climate does not negatively influence the sale of tobacco and alcohol. He even manufactured cigarettes in his garage!

This would become his main focus in business, although he had interests in banking, mining, media, and the food sector – to name a few.

In the 1940s Anton moved to Stellenbosch and here he established the Rembrandt Group, which would later be split into various entities, such as Remgro and Richemont.

From the 1960s the Ruperts have used their resources to promote the arts, education, music and the restoration of historical buildings.

One of Anton’s legacies that can be visited today, is the Rupert Museum, situated at the end of Dorp Street. Here you can see the private art collection of the family, with artist names such as Maggie Laubser and Irma Stern, and international names such as Auguste Rodin and Käthe Kollwitz.

The Rupert museum has just undergone major renovations and boasts a library, café and workshop area. Why not pop in, have a coffee and experience world-class art right on your doorstep?

Written by Crystelle Knoesen


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