South African Culture and Art in Stellenbosch

Posted on Tue December 18, 2012.

When you mention the town of Stellenbosch the immediate attractions that come to mind are the Wine Route, diverse restaurants and students living the “student life”. Stellenbosch guest houses are highly rated and frequented by tourists and locals alike.

However, there are many other aspects to this wonderful town. It is steeped in history and this can be seen at the many art galleries and museums; if you want an experience with a more intellectual edge, then it is recommended that you explore these venues that burst with Stellenbosch and South African history.

Your first stop should be the Rupert Museum, which boasts the collections of Huberte and Anton Rupert. Its location is complemented by the idyllic landscape of vineyards and the Eersterivier. The building was commissioned in 2003 and the history and prominence of the wineries in the area are reflected in the architecture.

The museum is regarded as housing the premier collection of contemporary South African art from 1940 to 1970; works include paintings, sculptures and tapestries. A plethora of works from some of our country’s most revered are also proudly displayed including: Maggie Laubser, Irma Stern, Alexis Preller, Walter Battiss, Elza Dziomba and Jean Welz.

South Africa is renowned for its staple snack: biltong. The history behind its production is fascinating. The name biltong is derived from the Dutch words “Bil” meaning buttock and “tong” meaning strip. The meat is salted and air-dried. The meat, during the time of the French Huguenots, was preserved with vinegar and various spices.

Biltong is available at many restaurants in Stellenbosch and is usually served with the locally produced wine, which provides customers with a taste sensation that echoes the celebrated history of South Africa.

Stellenbosch is a proud embodiment of the richness of South African history and local and international tourists are advised to make use of this wonderful opportunity to learn about our diverse culture.