South Africa’s First Female Winemaker – Her Journey Through Oppression
Ntsiki Biyela is Africa’s first black female winemaker. The dedicated and powerful lady from South Africa is an international award-winning vintner and resident winemaker at the Stellekaya winery in Stellenbosch — east of Cape Town, South Africa.
“I’m surrounded by men who are supportive, but in general it’s a struggle because you have to do twice as much to prove yourself,”
Biyela’s life began in 1978 in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where the thought of wine never entered her mind. As a black South African, Biyela suffered discrimination and oppression, yet she was driven by an urge to create a better life for herself …she started looking for opportunities outside of her village.
“I wanted to do chemical engineering but I couldn’t because of the financial situation,”
Soon after apartheid was abolished in 1994, South African Airways began offering wine making scholarships as part of a program to help transform the country’s economy. Biyela jumped at the chance.
“There was an opportunity to study, and become something.”
So she left her village and family to pursue a career in making something she had never tasted. After graduating Biyela was turned away three times before she landed a job. Biyela took a job with boutique wine producer Stellekaya, in the heart of the Cape Winelands. It wasn’t long before Biyela earned her first award, for her Cape Cross wine.
More awards soon followed and Biyela was named South Africa’s Woman Winemaker of the Year. It’s a sign of just how far the industry has come since the end of apartheid.
Biyela is now preparing the next phase in her journey as an independent wine maker. Stellekaya will soon be a memory and feather in her winemaker’s cap, as she will buy grapes from farmers because she can’t afford her own vineyards just yet.
But she already has a name for the brand: Aslina.
Original Story Via cp-africa.com
5 Questions for Africa’s First Black Female Winemaker – Wine Enthusiast Magazine Ntsiki Biyela had never tasted wine when she was awarded a college scholarship to study winemaking. Now, she’s Africa’s first black female winemaker, at boutique winery Stellekaya in Stellenbosch—where her very first red blend took the gold at the …
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