C. Louis Leipoldt

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Christian Frederik Louis Leipoldt, usually referred to as C. Louis Leipoldt, (1880-1947) was a South African poet, playwright, paediatrician, botanist, journalist, novelist, cook and connoisseur of food and wine. Apart from poetry, he wrote novels, plays, stories, children's books, cookbooks and a travel diary. He was awarded the Hertzog Prize for Afrikaans Drama in 1944.


Leipoldt was born in Worcester near Cape Town on 28 December 1880. His father was the parson in the Dutch Reformed Church in Clanwilliam and his grandfather was the preacher who founded the famous Rhenish missionary in Wupperthal [1]. His mother was also the daughter of a Rhenish missionary. He became a journalist for a short period, qualified as a medical practitioner and eventually worked as a paediatrician in Cape Town. He never married. Leipoldt died in Cape Town on 12 April 1947.


Growing up in Clanwilliam, one of four children, his early education was largely at home.


After being home-schooled as a child, he studied Medicine at the University of Cape Town and at Guy's Hospital in London. He qualified as a medical practitioner and later as a paediatrician. He travelled widely in Europe, America and the East Indies.


For a while, during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), he worked as a reporter. He wrote for local papers De Kolonist and Het Dagblad and also reported on the war for a number of overseas publications, before he went to university to study Medicine from 1902 until 1907. For about six months during 1908, he was the personal physician of the American newspaper magnate, Joseph Pulitzer, aboard Pulitzer's yacht [2]. For a while he worked as a school doctor in London. He returned to South Africa and became the Medical Inspector of Schools in the Transvaal and then in the Cape Province. In 1925 he settled down in Cape Town where he worked as a paediatrician for the rest of his life.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance


Wrote in Dutch, Afrikaans and English. His published poems include the collections Oom Gert Vertel ("Uncle Gert Narrates" - 1911) and Geseënde Skaduwees ("Blessed Shadows" - 1949) and the epic English poem The Ballad of Dick King (1949). *** His most important and influential play was Die Hamer van die Hekse ("The Hammer of the Witches"), a short play written in response to a performance of * Perhaps The Rosary, by ***. A play about ***. Produced by Leonard Rayne at the Standard Theatre and the ** theatre in Cape Town??in 19**???. A THOUGHT*] ***. He later revised and published it as Die Heks ("The Witch"), and it was then taken up by Paul de Groot for his first/second??* professional production in 1925. With that Afrikaans theatre was seen as having come of age artistically and the play has been produced often since and was for very many years a standard prescribed work for schools. A new version of the play (Die Hamer van die Hekse), based on the original text, was done by André P. Brink in 198* and performed by PACT. Other plays include Die Vergissing ("The misinterpretation"), Die Swart Gevaar (The black danger"), Die Laaste Aand ("The last night"), Die Lang Nag???**. His autobiography (Bushveld Doctor) was published in 1935 by **), while a biography by John Kannemeyer was published by Tafelberg?** in 2001*? Stephen Gray - who rescued Leipoldt's English novel (Stormwrack*?) and had it published - has also written on Leipoldt in English. [TH]

Awards, etc

Awarded the 1944 Hertzog Prize for Afrikaans Drama for Die Heks and Die Laaste Aand.


Cederberg Publishers [3]

Wikipedia [4]

Afrikaans Wikipedia [5]

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