By Nomali Cele
This weekend we will be hosting a screening of “The Colour of Wine” at The Bioscope in Maboneng. The documentary looks at the world of South African winemaking through the lens of first generation black winemakers. These winemakers aren’t just first generation, they were among a few first black people to study winemaking and are today among a few black people making inroads in the wine industry
This is a different kind of push off point for telling the story of post-apartheid South Africa where wine is used to reflect the years leading up to and after South Africa was reintegrated into the world.
Aside from the winemakers, Unathi Mantshongo, Ntsiki Biyela, Dumisani Mathonsi and Carmen Stevens, the film is influenced by the minds behind the scenes. It all begins with a conversation between director Akin Omotoso and executive producer Victor Dlamini, the conversation is about the South African wine industry and the result is unpacking South African wine history.
With “The Colour of Wine,” Akin Omotoso sheds light on an important but currently neglected aspect of South Africa’s transition from apartheid: The heaviness of it all. We all know people who were among “the first black students” at x former model-c school and we know people who moved into predominantly white neighbourhoods in the suburbs. Both these groups had to deal with aggression as if they hadn’t paid the same amount of money as their white counterparts to be in these places.
Omotoso is the celebrated director of such films as “God is African,” “Tell me Sweet Something,” and “Vaya” to name a few. Nigerian-born, Omotoso spent his formative in South Africa and has been working in the film industry for over 20 years, he himself spent years in a transforming industry at its infancy.
Integration and transition were not easy for the black people and the people of colour moving into “white spaces” but somehow this is often forgotten when discussing South Africa’s “seamless” transition. This is the difficult conversation “The Colour of Wine” implores that we have. It’s important to celebrate the strides black wine producers have made but we must also acknowledge that there are still barriers to access such as financing, language and more.
Listen to Omotoso on Breakfast with David talking about “The Colour of Wine.