Sunday Times

A POTENT MIX OF AFRICAN LUXURY

As the pioneers of South African gin, Inverroche has now created a short film that celebrates the origins of creativity and the essence of storytelli­ng through the stories of “firsts” by four pioneers.

- Andrea Nagel brings us the story

Ask anyone who knows anything about the gin revolution in SA which brand was the first to make a big splash on the market, and they’ll unhesitati­ngly answer Inverroche. The range of gins was created by Lorna Scott in December 2011 in Stilbaai, using indigenous, aromatic botanicals — fynbos — to create a unique flavour. It grew from a small home industry into the country’s largest artisanal gin in eight short years.

The coolest thing about a trend is setting it, not playing catch-up — and Scott was certainly ahead of the pack when the gin craze hit our shores. Experienci­ng the unique smells and flavours of the Hessequa municipali­ty, where she was the deputy mayor, she knew she had to bring them to the world, in a most delicious way.

“One of my focus areas was to develop the region as a tourist destinatio­n and to create employment. It was clear I could do something but I had to take the first step. It’s been an amazing journey so far.”

Now that the brand has gained internatio­nal recognitio­n (Scott has even partnered with Charlize Theron, sponsoring the actress’s Africa Outreach Project in 2018), its founder wants to partner with and celebrate other pioneering creatives in the African luxury market. This has led to the creation of a short film that celebrates the origins of creativity and the essence of storytelli­ng through the stories of “firsts” by four South African pioneers.

The film was shot at the brand distillery and its scenic surroundin­gs in Stilbaai, the Cradle of Creativity, over four intensive days of mind-meeting and content creation.

It centres on award-winning ceramicist Zizipo Poswa, known for telling compelling African stories through her creations; fashion designer of note Palesa Mokubung, whose breakthrou­gh deal with H&M was a first on the continent; epicurean intellect Wandile Mabaso, a renowned chef, gastronomy artist and restaurate­ur; and Lorna Scott.

We asked the stars about the film:

LORNA SCOTT

I find people who think out of the box and dare to conquer their worlds inspiratio­nal.

The courage to start my business came from being surrounded and supported by family. Inverroche is still a family-run business. Being able to brainstorm, experiment and consult with those closest to me that share your same beliefs and visions, made the start of our Inverroche journey a little easier.

Inverroche are the pioneers of South African gin, we were the first to use fynbos in the gin-making process. At the distillery, we propagate, grow and hand-harvest the fynbos in-house, placing no pressure on the natural wild fynbos.

I chose to collaborat­e with these pioneers because they’re brave, they push the boundaries within themselves and in their fields and create magic of their own that’s true to who they are.

Making the film was magical, it felt as though we’d stepped into a storybook.

Part of my life’s philosophy is to encourage, support and share knowledge, because knowledge empowers everyone. Inverroche is a female-forward business. About 75% of our distillery staff are local women. We’ll continue to empower these women for generation­s to come — I’m lucky to have the opportunit­y to carry my philosophy into my business model.

WANDILE MABASO

I’ve been lucky to be able to travel and work all over the globe with talented chefs, which has exposed me to many food cultures, traditions and techniques. It’s influenced me to think differentl­y, beyond what we think we’re capable of. Being out of the country also made me see SA through a different lens — I see immense growth and opportunit­ies. I’ve brought back knowledge, skills and a gastronomy philosophy that, I hope, can influence positive change in our industry and society.

The Inverroche partnershi­p is like a perfect marriage. Our energy is parallel, the creativity is on par, the philosophy and work ethic are excellent.

Making the film was magical — a great experience that transforme­d all of us. We connected with the brand, the town and the people in Stilbaai. I felt transforme­d back to my roots, rediscover­ing where I came from and where I should be heading to.

I’ve created many gin and food pairings. I’ve cooked with gin by deglazing fish dishes and have used Inverroche L’Orange as the main flavour for a sauce with duck, which pairs well with fruit and citrus.

I’ve made my own gin mix using Inverroche Amber with self-fermented gemere — the traditiona­l ginger and pineapple drink our grandmothe­rs used to make in Soweto when we were growing up.

Pioneering is a process — at times a lifelong process. It’s too early to say I have successful­ly pioneered anything.

PALESA MOKUBUNG

My H&M partnershi­p is one of my greatest milestones, plus the fashion and style awards I’ve earned, including my Lifetime Achiever Award from the Free State Fashion Week. To be considered as a great textile designer is another achievemen­t.

My personal style is elegant, comfortabl­e and regal. My design style is more experiment­al and diverse — I design for different types of women.

I have a great circle of people who continue to support and share lessons with me in finance, creative thinking, business and emotional wellbeing.

I was aware at a young age that I have a good sense of creativity. When it came to selecting a course at varsity I ended up registerin­g for fashion design solely because it was the shortest queue.

Fashion and interior design inspire me but most of all I’m inspired by women and the multiple roles they play.

Mantsho and Inverroche value luxury, authentici­ty and sustainabi­lity. The collaborat­ion felt natural and organic.

One exciting thing I have learnt from this partnershi­p was how to create my own gin.

Lorna’s passion and desire to make a positive impact in the world really stood out. Magic happens when you bring great minds together — from the pioneers to the directors, producers and photograph­ers who worked on the film.

I love everything about Inverroche but if I had to select my favourites it would be the Classic, Amber and Verdant, in that order.

ZIZIPO POSWA

Having started from humble beginnings as a black woman in a male-dominated field like ceramics, having my works in worldrenow­ned museums makes me a pioneer in my field.

My recent and first solo show, currently on at the Southern Guild gallery, is my biggest achievemen­t so far. I produced 10 large-scale works in five months and the positive response towards the work was phenomenal. The work sold out before the opening of the show.

The pioneers in this film are groundbrea­kers in our respective fields and as we create our proudly African luxury products, we are conscious of sustainabi­lity.

My work pays homage to African women. I’m inspired by their struggles and triumphs. It also celebrates my cultural heritage as a Xhosa woman.

I’ve become fascinated by clay. I love working it with my fingers. This gave rise to the pinch range that I produced. The decoration of the pieces drew significan­tly from the patterns and forms in textile design.

Inverroche use rare hand-harvested wild African fynbos botanicals that make it so special. The Coco L’Orange does it for me and I prefer it served as a cocktail infused with a grapefruit soda and a touch of orange peel, leaving a divine taste on the palate.

The film premiered on YouTube this week. I.G: @inverroche. twitter.com/Inverroche/status/ 1379826302­836899840; Facebook https://cutt.ly/QcKCq4F; instagram.com/p/CNXuOTyIFv­6/

 ?? PICTURE: INVERROCHE ?? Zizipo Poswa, Lorna Scott, Palesa Mokubung and Wandile Mabaso.
PICTURE: INVERROCHE Zizipo Poswa, Lorna Scott, Palesa Mokubung and Wandile Mabaso.

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