Image of Christian Frederik Louis Leipoldt is not available
star nullstar nullstar nullstar nullstar null

Born in December 28, 1880 / Died in April 12, 1947 / South Africa / English


Dr. Christian Frederik Louis Leipoldt was a South African poet, who wrote in the Afrikaans language. Together with Jan Francois Elias Celliers and Jacob Daniël du Toit (published as Totius), he was one of the leading figures in the poetry of the Second Afrikaans Movement. Apart from poetry, Louis Leipoldt (Loo-ee LAY-polt) wrote novels, plays, stories, children's books, cookbooks and a travel diary. He is numbered amongst the greatest of the Afrikaner poets and he was described by Diederik Johannes Opperman, himself a noted South African poet, as "our most versatile artist".

His life

Leipoldt was born in Worcester in the Cape Province, the son of a preacher, Christian Friedrich Leipoldt, of the NG Kerk in Clanwilliam, and grandson of the Rhenish missionary, Johann Gottlieb Leipoldt, who founded Wupperthal in the Cederberg. His mother was Anna Meta Christiana Esselen, daughter of Louis Franz Esselen (1817-1893), another Rhenish missionary at Worcester. His early education was largely at home and for a while, during the Second Boer War, he was a reporter. Between 1902 and 1907, with funding from the botanist Harry Bolus, he read medicine at Guy's Hospital in London and then travelled in Europe, America and the East Indies. At times his health was poor. For a period of some six months during 1908, he was the personal physician of the American newspaper magnate, Joseph Pulitzer, aboad Pulitzer's yacht. Later Leipoldt's career was varied: for a period he was a school doctor in London, before becoming the Medical Inspector of Schools in the Transvaal and then in the Cape Province. He returned to journalism for a while (1923) but finally settled down as a pediatrician in Cape Town in 1925. He never married. He died in Cape Town but, because of his deep love for the Hantam his ashes were laid to rest in the rugged Pakhuis Pass (Storehouse Pass), near Clanwilliam. His grave is situated at the base of a cave-like opening on the mountain face. Directly above his tombstone faint bushman drawings can be seen that were drawn many years before his death. Leipoldt wrote much about nature in general and in particular about the landscapes and legends of his beloved Hantam. His poetry also deals with the suffering caused by the Second Boer War and the culture and values of the Cape Malays. Most of his work does not translate well into English.


The C. Louis Leipoldt Medical Centre in Cape Town is named after C. Louis Leipoldt. The Louis Leipoldt Primary School in Lyttelton (Centurion) is named after C. Louis Leipoldt. ..