Wine, fruit and other products were at the epicentre of the 1980s boycott and disinvestment campaigns that helped bring down South Africa’s apartheid regime.
But the SA wine industry — which had an appalling labour record under apartheid, not just for the near-slave labour conditions it imposed on its black workforce, but also for the ‘dop’ system which saw many workers paid partly in alcohol — is changing. The Guardian has just reported that one of the biggest exporters, Thandi, will shortly be both wholly worker-owned and Fairtrade — the first wine producer in the world to be both a Fairtrade producer and a black-owned collective. And the Co-operative is also sourcing wines from the Du Toitskloof community co-operative in Western Cape Province.
It also makes me want to start drinking again!