Ses’fikile battles arrival

2016-07-14 06:00
 Cheese maker Gerald Charlot , Nondumiso Pikashe and Zindzile Jacobs of Sesfikile Wines and hotelier Mario Delecio during a mini wine tasting held at Hotel Verde  PHOTOs: lindile mbontsi

Cheese maker Gerald Charlot , Nondumiso Pikashe and Zindzile Jacobs of Sesfikile Wines and hotelier Mario Delecio during a mini wine tasting held at Hotel Verde PHOTOs: lindile mbontsi

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Her entrance into the white and male dominated wine making industry was hailed as a refreshing breakthrough, but the Gugulethu winemaker has found a “hostile and untransformed” industry.

Nondumiso Pikashe a teacher by profession was lured into the world of wines by “pure sense of aspiration”.

In the mid 2000s she started a woman only wine making company and this set her up for a campaign driven by a banking concern.

The bank’ s drive was to identify business dynamos who see opportunities where others may not.

When her first collective winemaking enterprise didn’t make it, she tried again - and Ses’fikile was born.

Once Nondumiso relaunched her business, her determination paid off when she met Dirk Roos.

Born into a family of winemakers, he offered Nondumiso the use of his winery to realize her vision.

Now years later, the feisty Nondumiso encounters a problem which she says is “killing emerging winemakers” like her.

“The national retailers are reluctant to list our wines. They believe Black brands don’t work,” she told me during a wine and cheese tasting at Hotel Verde, near Cape Town International Airport recently.

To illustrate her point, she gives an example of a farm worker’s consortium which produced a wine called Thokozani and could not be listed until they changed the name to Celebration,

“For me Ses’fikile which means ‘we have arrived’, which is a fitting label for our wines. They are now sold in and actively supported by many township businesses, and are stocked in only two places namely Emazinkini in Stellenbosch and Hotel Verde,” she said.

Last week Nondumiso received two filmmakers from a Switzerland based television network who are busy with a documentary on her story.

The documentary will be released in December to a European market and Nondumiso believes that could “open doors for us”.

Nondumiso still has passion for the chalk and she dreams of encouraging youngsters to study “wine studies” at places like Capewine Academy so that there can be sustainability and change in the industry.

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