By Nomali Cele
In the near quarter of a century South Africa has been a democracy, previously disadvantaged communities and individuals have had the economic growth to “self-actualise.” Whether as “black diamonds” or the black middle class, more people have had access to money and social capital.
In this time, wine has grown into one of the many status symbols for certain communities. From vineyard visits to wine tastings and even collecting. The one facet of wine where affluent black people and people of colour still find themselves facing barriers to entry has been the ownership, making and distribution.
South Africa is in the top 10 of the world’s biggest wine producers a number that’s always increasing in terms of exports. But whatever growth the industry has experienced, it does not make up for the sinister past and present the South African wine industry has, which includes a history of paying workers (mostly black a brown) partially in alcohol.
A number of factors are at play when it comes to the South African wine industry and its make-up. Land is still, overwhelmingly, in white hands, people of colour have for years been made to do only menial work, the South African wine industry is still a male-dominated industry.
In “The Colour of Wine,” a documentary directed by director Akin Omotoso, the viewer is shown the changing face of the South African wine industry. Following four young, black (and mostly women) winemakers, “The Colour of Wine” not only tells the story of South African winemaking as we currently know it but it also tells the story of how we got here.
Three of the featured winemakers, Ntsiki Biyela, Dumisani Mathonsi and Unathi Mantshongo, had no intentions of inclination that they would end up in the world of winemaking. One way or another, due to funding obstacles, all three found themselves offered scholarships and bursaries by different institutions to study aspects of winemaking and all three were among the first black students to study at Stellenbosch University.
Would you like to join us at a “The Colour of Wine” screening and panel discussion on 10 February at The Bioscope in Maboneng? We have limited spaces, RSVP to [email protected]
The film shows all the spaces wine touches, from vineyards to wine cellars. Omotoso and the producers also expertly pull in wine experts and lovers to add to the flavour of the film.
Commenting on whether the South African wine industry has transformed (it hasn’t really) are wine industry commentators such as Mnikelo Mangchiphu, Michael Fridjon, Bongiwe Njobe, Tebello Motsoane and John Platter.
Want to join us on 10 February at our screening of “The Colour of Wine,” which will be followed by a panel discussion at The BioScope in Maboneng? RSVP to [email protected] — please be advised that seats are limited.