Anton Rupert, who died yesterday, aged 89, at his home in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, was like a South African Bill Gates, in that he dreamed up his empire while rolling cigarettes in his garage.
Not true – Bill Gates never rolled a cigarette in his life. But Rupert did – or so the myth about South Africa’s richest Afrikaner goes – and eventually all those little ciggies added up to two of the world’s most successful investment and luxury goods companies, Rembrandt/Remgro and Richemont.
Personally, Your Correspondent will shed a tear for Mr. Rupert because of his founding stakeholding (through his son Antonij) in the Rupert & Rothschild wine estate – two names to strike the fear of God in any Socialist, and start the lips a-puckering in any wine lover. (The Baron Edmund Bordeaux is particularly recommended. No doubt traces of it can be found in the gullets of many an SA Socialist.)
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Others, however, will mourn Mr. Rupert over the lacuna he leaves in charitable giving in conservation and the arts – just please don’t mention the fact that his great wealth derived from tobacco, liquor and mining interests.
As they’re saying throughout Afrikanerdom today, Mooi loop, Anton.