Toast to success
Mayime vineyard a lifeline to more than 33 from Whittlesea
WHEN her husband died in 1997 leaving her with four children and with the youngest only eight months old, 53-year-old Nokwandisa Gwadana and her children knew all about poverty for years until she spoke to the chairman of Mayime Primary Agricultural Cooperative Selborne Cecane about a job.
Cecane offered her a job at the cooperative's vineyard when it started in 2012 with the planting of five hectares of grapes, followed by another seven hectares in 2015. When the 2012 grapes were harvested, it was taken to Cape Town for processing, leading to the production of Inkosi Wine by Mayime Winery. The project produces a pinotage and a chardonnay.
Gwadana said she had, up till then, depended on the four grants of her children. “We really struggled as I was unemployed and we could not make ends meet. My children could not cope at school.”
She said the job had contributed positively to her life and that of her children. Her dignity had been restored.
“My children are doing well now and I was able to save and send my two boys to initiation school. We have learnt a lot through this project and it has helped to decrease crime in the area. We attend short courses.”
Nompho Bobotyana also started working at the vineyard in 2012 after failing matric.
“I was an unemployed mother who could not provide or support my child, but now I can and I see a bright future for this vineyard. We have learnt a lot of new skills here and now I can even drive a tractor.”
Cecane said more than 33 people had been employed at the vineyard and the number more than doubles during harvesting. The land is owned by 400 community members. He said the support received from government was highly appreciated. The cooperative formed a partnership with Farm Vision which helps with the skills of planting and nurturing grapes.
Chris Hani District Municipality political head for integrated planning and economic development Sibongile Mbotshane said the district authority saw potential in the project and decided to support it.
He said Farm Vision had formed a partnership with wine producers in Cape Town. On their recent visit to Cape Town, Mbotshane said producers had commended the high quality of the local grapes.
“In 2012, R6-million was budgeted by CHDM for this project. The department of rural development and agrarian reform came on board and put in R14-million. This financial year we budgeted R2.8-million. This was used for infrastructure development and equipment,” he said.
The project has since produced 3800 litres of wine.
The municipality is still looking at expanding the project with the aim to create more jobs.
“We need to approach the provincial government and private partners because we want to have a cellar for processing in Komani. This will create more jobs and we will become known as the wine producers of the Eastern Cape.”
He said the district authority was looking at finding areas in the six local municipalities that would also produce grapes with wine production throughout the year.
An estimated R12-million would be needed, “but if we work together this can be realised. If the municipality does it alone, it will take about three years to realise this dream.”
VINE TIME: Inkosi Chardonnay and Pinotage made of grapes produced in Shiloh, Whittlesea have hit the shelves of shops with, from left, Mayime Primary Agricultural Cooperative chairman Selborne Cecane and Chris Hani District Municipality acting executive mayor Mtethunzima Jack in the vineyard on Wednesday