The 12th edition of the Soweto Wine and Lifestyle Festival kicked off on Friday. The three day event which runs till March 5th is being held at the Soweto Theatre in Soweto, South Africa.
This event showcases products like various kinds of wines, champagne, delicatessen, oils and vinegars, beer products and much more in the wine industry.
The event also brings together businesses related to the industry such as hotels, airlines and tourism authorities. However those in the wine business have had their own fair share of challenges.
Malmsey Rangaka, is the CEO of M’Hudi Wines, a wine farm run by an inspirational family in Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands. She says: “Challenges have been many. Firstly when I arrived in the wine industry as a woman, they laughed at me and said that no a woman cannot do this job; it’s a very difficult job.”
“And they also looked at me as a worker because mostly in the wine industry, traditionally it is black people who do the work. But as soon as they realize that actually this is really happening, this woman is here, she has bought this farm and she is here to stay, attitudes started changing.”
South African wine has a long history dating back to 1659. The rainbow nation is now the world’s 7th largest wine producer. Its vineyards account for 4% of global wine output, and volumes have increased 20% over four years to about 420 million liters annually, according to CNN Money.
The industry contributes 2% to South Africa’s GDP and employs 300 000 people, making it the biggest permanent employer in agriculture.Follow @Muisyo_