The bitter wine of apartheid

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!

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