J.A. Rouvière

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J.A. Rouvière (17**-18**) was a watchmaker and dealer in French goods, and one of the leading members of the French and later Dutch cultural movement in the Cape in the early 19th century.

Also known as A. Rouvière according to F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 129).


He possibly arrived and settled in Cape Town some time after 1807, setting up a shop at 38 Hout Street (sometimes listed as 33 Loop Street). He soon became an informed member of the cultural elite in Cape Town, apparently knowing everyone and everything. He was a friend of C.E. Boniface and went on to become a strong supporter of Dutch aspirations and Dutch theatre. In his case he appears to have created something of a theatrical dynasty, with the names C.A. Rouvière, L.A. Rouvière and J.P. Rouvière featuring as dancers and performers in Dutch productions circa 1825.

He (and his family?) seemingly left the Cape in August 1826, because of his wife's ill-health, and settled in the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet.

His contribution to South African theatre and performance

His own name first appears as actor as early as 22 February, 1809, in a French production by C.E. Boniface of Les Plaideurs by Racine and Le Derviche by De Saint-Foix.

His shop also served as a ticket office for theatre productions, inter alia those of Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp. 84, 122-129, 174, 275, 281, 298, 376-377.

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