Nederburg & Qhubeka - giving us hope in difficult times

Wednesday, 18 September, 2019
Judy Brower - wine.co.za
South Africa reached a tipping point recently, with gender-based violence taking centre-stage. Our beautiful country is in mourning. We live in this crazy juxtaposition of stunning beauty, diverse cultures and languages, abject poverty, unemployment and hopelessness, and so my heart was warmed by my recent positive experience in Khayelitsha, one of Cape Town's biggest townships.

Nederburg hosted an event for various media recently to explore Khayelitsha by bike.  The bicycles we used had been donated to Siya Mbaba's tourism business called Ride2Empower, which is a beneficiary of the Qhubeka project, who have distributed almost 100 000 bicycles into various African communities since inception.  Nederburg have been a supporter of Qhubeka for a number of years now, and house a bicycle assembly plant in Paarl, managed by 8 women from the Paarl East community, which produces 100 bikes a month.

Many white folk will not venture into the townships in South Africa. It is the unknown. And this is exactly what #Ride2Empower is trying to shift. Bringing people into the township, getting them to cycle about and experience normal life breaks down barriers, builds understanding and fosters relationships.  It is what we need in South Africa to help to heal and move forward.

Qhubeka are now the official charity of The Tour de France, one of the longest and toughest cycle races in Europe. They donate one bicycle for every participant in the Tour de France - around 175 bicycles.  Team Dimension Data, South Africa's star-studded cycle team have been ardent supporters of Qhubeka for years now.  Nederburg has donated 60 bicycles to the Khayelitsha Community Policing Forum, who are now more mobile to monitor safety in the streets. #bicycleschangelives.

After an incredibly emotional week of anger, frustration, sadness and despair, I was fortunate enough to attend this very inspiring media event in Khayelitsha a few weeks back, courtesy of one of South Africa’s most well loved wine brands, Nederburg Wines
We were safely guided by the 5 lovely men of the Community Policing Forum on their Qhubeka bikes.

Our trip took us to entrepreneur Siki Dibela's coffee shop called Sikis Koffee Kafe. Siki was trained as a barista and worked for Vide e Caffè and then opened up their first store in London. He eventually came back to make a difference in his community and now his little coffee shop which is hip and happening during the day is still his mum's garage at night! I believe Siya also hosts some of his Ghetto sessions of poetry and music there.

Siki at his Koffee Kafe 

We cycled further after our aromatic coffee at Siki's and discovered the Spinach King, a healthy alternative healthy baking offering started by Lufefe Nomjana in 2011, with a view and a passion to shift the nutritional efficacy of the breads people eat in his community.  He has garnered support from billionaire Richard Branson and now they also supply gluten free, spinach-rich products to city stores.

Cycling along Spine Road - and Siya explaining The Spinach King journey

After a muffin at the Spinach King, we had a little extra cycling to do, and came across a very moving live art installation/drama experience on the streets, curated by Theatre 4 Change Arts Project, headed up by UCT Drama Graduate Mandisi “Disi” Sindo. 

The piece de resistance was the most delicious lunch prepared by Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena - who runs 4Roomed Ekasi Culture restaurant - also a local keen to make a difference in her community. She was a Dental Technologist, artist, home decor and design creative, is a self taught cook and recipe developer and photographer.  She was encouraged by her family to enter Master Chef, and went a long way into the competition, gathering many fans along the way.

4ROOMED™'s most important role is to bring about a dignified standard of life while conducting business in the townships, encouraging participation from all citizens for a culturally cohesive and inclusive engagement by all.  During our visit, we were entertained by Babalwa Makwetu and her band who just blew me away!  What a voice and stunning group of musicians.  The space is a wonderful melting pot of cultures and energy and I look forward to returning soon!

Abigail with her son helping in the Kitchen  |  Babakwa Makwetu and her band

 

When it is easy to be depressed living in South Africa, it is also the country which provides us with great highs - it is such a crazy country, but I would not live anywhere else. There are wonderful people doing inspiring and motivational things.

Here are a number of young people who are brave by taking on the mantle of changing their situations, but also looking beyond themselves, making a space for others to grow and for the community to benefit through their innovative, creative and healthy initiatives.  Halala!

Do yourself a favour and go and do a cycle tour with Siya, have a coffee at Siki's - and/or visit 4Roomed Ekasi.  Take your own bottle of Nederburg, as they are not licenced.  

Go and experience it for yourself!

#bicycleschangelives #wineforgood

Judy Brower

Judy has been running wine.co.za alongside her hubby Kevin Kidson since 1996. She takes photos, attends functions, writes occasionally, sells wine.co.za services, is Mrs HR at the company, cooks yummy lunches from time to time and generally is the glue at wine.co.za

Siya Mbaba (Ride2Empower)
Siya Mbaba (Ride2Empower)

Nederburg bubbles
Nederburg bubbles

4-Roomed Ekasi founder Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena
4-Roomed Ekasi founder Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena

Arriving at 4Roomed Ekasi restaurant
Arriving at 4Roomed Ekasi restaurant

Elmarie Botes - winemaker at Nederburg
Elmarie Botes - winemaker at Nederburg

Nederburg Qhubeka Ride2Empower outing
Nederburg Qhubeka Ride2Empower outing

Nederburg Qhubeka Ride2Empower bicycles
Nederburg Qhubeka Ride2Empower bicycles

Nederburg Qhubeka Ride2Empower outing
Nederburg Qhubeka Ride2Empower outing

Siki Dibela & Judy Brower
Siki Dibela & Judy Brower

Theatre4Change - illustrating Gender Based Violence
Theatre4Change - illustrating Gender Based Violence

Delicious crayfish tempura & medallions of beef - surf & turf!
Delicious crayfish tempura & medallions of beef - surf & turf!

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