Famous People Who Came from Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo

Few small towns in South Africa can boast the rich historical heritage of Graaff-Reinet, one of the oldest towns in country. With many famous people in the history of South Africa who came from the town, you have all the more reason to book accommodation in Graaff-Reinet at KarooRus. With our central location and self-catering accommodation, you can come and go as you please. Several of the historical landmarks are within walking distance, giving you the opportunity to talk to locals on route to some of the museums.

You will find that all of them recommend that you book accommodation in Graaff-Reinet for at least three days, as the town has so much to offer that a simple drive-through is simply insufficient. Let us look at some of the characters that have contributed to the rich history of this beautiful and very authentic Karoo town.

Anthony Edward Rupert

You will notice the Hester Rupert Museum and many other places that carry the Rupert name in Graaff-Reinet and for good reason. The Rupert family has been deeply involved in the conservation of the town’s artworks, history and natural heritage. A.E. Rupert, one of the richest people to have lived in South Africa, was born during WWI in 1916 in the town. He went on to study Chemistry in Pretoria before returning to his Cape roots at Stellenbosch, where he started the famous Rembrandt Group. With a career spanning over six decades, he built a mighty empire from the humble beginnings of mere ten pounds. His fame was known abroad and he was among the people listed in Forbes as member of one of the richest families in the world. He passed away in 2006 with assets in his estate valued at billions of rands. Anthony Rupert made many contributions towards the restoration and preservation of historical buildings in the town and thanks to him, many of South Africa’s best artworks can still be seen in Graaff-Reinet.

Thomas Francois Burgers

Graaff-Reinet seems to be the birthplace of many of South Africa’s most prominent people, including the likes of the fourth president of the ZAR, who was born in the district in the early 1830s. He became president in 1872. Unfortunately, due to his policies and the government being unable to make ends meet, he eventually had to leave his role and return to the Cape Colony, where he died a poor man.

Sylvea Rafael

Noted for her involvement in the Mossad rather than for her contribution to Graaff-Reinet, she was born in the town in the late 1930s. Her father was the owner of the Plaza Cinema. She was from a Jewish family and emigrated to Israel in the sixties, where she at first worked as a teacher on a kibbutz. She later joined the Mossad (Israel’s secret service) and moved up the ranks to become a combatant, enabling her to work in foreign, hostile countries. She became a Mossad spy in Paris and played an integral role in helping the Israeli government locate the terrorists involved in the Munich Olympics massacre. However, her involvement in the assassination of Ahmen Bouchiki in Norway let to her imprisonment and deportation to Israel. She moved to South Africa in the early nineties and passed away in 2005. Her body buried in Israel.

When you book accommodation in Graaff-Reinet, you will have ample time to learn about the many historical and important figures that hail from the charming town and nearby areas.

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