SES’FIKILE ‘WE HAVE ARRIVED’ WINES
*Caption: Nondumiso Pikashe at an event
Written by: Nqobile Msomi
JournalismIziko first met Nondumiso Pikashe at the recent Mercury Wine Week, where she stood out as the only African woman with a stand.
Pikashe’s stand was the only one that belonged to a black person, more specifically, a black woman and this made it stand out from the rest.
When we approached her, she was polite and soft spoken. She answered a few of our questions without an ounce of egotism.
Ses’Fikile is 100% owned and controlled by empowered women.
“The wines are hand-crafted by a team of wine makers in the Wellington area of the Cape Town lands. Our motto is “Respect the Earth and her people,” explained Pikashe.
“This state of the art, gravity-flow cellar and ancient winemaking philosophy ensures an authentic real wine of uncompromised quality. Ses’Fikile- a collaboration that trumpets the African Renaissance,” she continued.
Pikashe hails from Gugulethu and Langa, both townships in Cape Town. Raised by a single mother, she had three other siblings and went to local schools. Later she attended the University of Western Cape and then the University of Cape Town.
Pikashe said she did not always have the passion for wine making and started out as a teacher, where she thought she had found her calling. She says that she had a nagging feeling about not having fulfilled her entrepreneurial-spirit and ventured out into the wine making industry.
Officially started in 2006, after it did not succeed in 2004, Pikashe persisted and after resurrecting her business, she met Gerald van der Vat who owns a winery in Worcester. She told him about her vision for Ses’fikile and he was keen to help her start up by allowing her to use his winery.
“I attended and do still attend a lot of wine fairs and read a lot about the wine-making process and the industry. I have also joined the Women in Wine group for networking and make sure I regularly associate with industry leaders,” said Pikashe.
On who her inspiration is in wine making industry, Pikashe said that she is inspired by the innovative winemaking philosophy in the country and the growing number of female wine makers.
On the international scope, she says that she doesn’t have a specific wine region but is inspired by German wine makers, her favourite being a white wine called Riesling.
“Our vision at Ses’Fikile is that we are dedicated to growing and crafting beautiful wine. We will never substitute integrity for fashion. Every wine in the range represents the very best we can do,” she said.
“The wines of Ses’fikile aim to sparkle with the mysterious allure of adventure and trumpet the Africa Renaissance. Above all, we aim to make the best wine in South African,” states Pikashe.
Pikashe described her wines as easy to drink.
“My wines are easy drinking fruit driven with soft tannins. There is a good acid balance that gives good character to the wine. Our white wines are fresh crisp. My favourite wine in my range is Shiraz/Cinsault blend as it quite rare although doesn’t like to have favourites among her ‘children’,” she said.
When we asked her what her dreams her for her company.
She said, “My dreams are to see the Ses’Fikile brand building, especially expanding into the international market Kenya, Ghana, European Union.”
“These are exciting times for young black women who want to join the industry. These opportunities were not here in the past. There is a list of job titles that they can pursue although some need maths and science subjects. Others don’t, this is an untapped sector them.It will be a reality when at least one black child pursues a viticulture and enology degree as a result of Ses’fikile’s efforts,’ as she described her hopes for the youth of South Africa.
When asked what she would say to her 21-year-old self:
‘If I could speak to the 21-year-old me, I would say- ‘you are living in the best times in South Africa .Take this opportunity to learn and to travel in abundance. South Africa is at a stage where a need for integration is urgent and imminent. Focus work hard at school and reach out to people for mentorship,” concluded Pikashe.