Wuppertal

Wuppertal is a small town in the Cederberg mountains.

 

It was founded in 1830 by two German missionaries of the Rhenish Missionary Society, Theobald von Wurmb and Johann Gottlieb Leipoldt, grandfather of C. Louis Leipoldt - some 100 years before the city of Wuppertal was formally established in Germany.

 

In 1965, after the Rhenish Mission had gradually scaled down their activities in Southern Africa over a period of 40 years, a decision was taken that Wupperthal in future should become part of the Moravian Church, which by that stage had already made the transition from a mission to an autonomous church in South Africa. The town remains a Moravian mission station to this day.

 

In its heyday the shoe factory, founded by Johann Leipoldt himself, provided work for many skilled craftsmen. The Wupperthal handsewn veldskoen (traditional soft suede shoes) were for nearly a century famous across South Africa for their comfort and good craftsmanship. A tannery and a glove factory were also in operation for many years. The shoe factory is still in existence today, but operates on a much smaller scale.

 

Tourism is a growing industry for Wupperthal, particularly during the Namaqualand flower season in August and September, when the seemingly barren mountain slopes become covered in flowers for a few weeks.