Cleto Saporetti is best known for establishing the High Rustenburg Health Hydro in Stellenbosch, but this was just one of his many achievements.
After being held as a prisoner of war at the Zonderwater POW Camp in South Africa for 5 years, he chose to remain in South Africa on his release. With just 50 pounds in his pocket and an unshakable spirit of determination, he became of one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and poultry farm owners, despite Newcastle Disease destroying his entire battery of 700,000 chickens.
A serious motor vehicle accident changed the course of his life and he embraced a more holistic approach to health care. He established the Hydro as the first South African health resort of its kind and ensured its enduring success. His passion for combining naturopathy with conventional medical care helped thousands of people, although it did not always endear him to the local medical community of the time.
Integrated with the Hydro was the Cleto Saporetti Foundation, which took health promotion services and activities to many thousands of less privileged members of the community.
Saporetti was awarded a knighthood by the Italian government in recognition of his contribution to the people of South Africa without ever forgetting the land of his birth.
This is the story of an incredible man whose zeal for life left a lasting impression on all who knew him, and whose advanced thinking changed attitudes to health care and nutrition.
Cleto Saporetti: born in Ravenna, Italy in 1905. Died in Cape Town, South Africa, 1984 – gone but not forgotten.