Inspired by africa

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Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela – one of South Africa’s first black women brewers – is passionate about using uniquely African ingredients to create her beers and ciders.

Growing up in a culture where women have always been beer brewers, Apiwe Nxusani- Mawela (37) never imagined that one day she herself would be the proud owner of an award-winning brewery. Yet this is precisely her success story, and these days Apiwe is best known for her range of Tolokazi craft beers. “When I watched women brew traditional beer in my hometown of Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, it didn’t interest me,” she recalls.

Apiwe studied microbiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, and later did her honours at the University of Pretoria.

After completing her studies, she joined South African Breweries, thus taking her first steps on the journey to eventually founding Brewsters Craft, an independent brewery, in 2015.

In 2017 she received funding to establish her own plant in Roodepoort where she produces African-inspired beers that use local ingredients such as rooibos and sorghum.

Today she stands out not only as one of South Africa’s first black female brewers, but is also holding her own in an industry dominated by men with her bold plan to create a truly South African beer. Recently, Brewster Craft was one of the winners in an entrepreneurship competition run by Afrikaans lifestyle channel VIA (DStv channel 147), in which six small- to medium-sized businesses each won airtime on VIA, as well as advertising space in Media24 magazines and newspapers. VIA created a 30-second commercial for each winner as part of prizes valued at a whopping R3 million.

Apiwe’s secret to success has been using locally sourced hops and other ingredients to make her Tolokazi craft beer and cider brand.“It’s something that we need to have, to grow our own identity as brewers on the African continent,” says Apiwe. “I want to see beers that are using African ingredients being recognised on the global brewing stage with overseas visitors coming to South Africa to taste beers they have never had before, and that they cannot taste anywhere else in the world.”

 Some of her proudly South African brews are a sorghum pilsener, rooibos and berry cider, African pale ale, pineapple cider and a hibiscus hop brew. The Tolokazi craft beer range is available on

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