Nondumiso talks eagerly about her journey, the reasons behind her change in career and the driving force behind her achievements. She remembers a speech given by former president Thabo Mbeki about the need for black women to rise up and take hold of more opportunities in the corporate sector. This speech along with many other factors left a lasting impression on Nondumiso who was resolute to make something more of herself.
With the aim of providing a better life for her and her family, Nondumiso decided to bet on herself and her love for the wine industry. This industry, that is deeply rooted in advantaged patriarchal systems, had always plagued her for the difference in meaning to differing parts of society. From the viewpoint of a young woman growing up in Gugulethu, wine was seen as a means - a negative tool - of silencing the disadvantaged masses. Yet, for the more well-to-do, wine is viewed as a positive way to mark and celebrate success.
These factors sparked Nondumiso’s interest as she embarked on the journey of discovering the wine industry from the grape to glass - and simultaneously, herself. She encountered many obstacles during her time as a newbie in the industry, one of which was being viewed and used as a pawn to fulfill BEE statuses and quotas in the sector, and providing great benefit for the relevant companies in the process. All of this made her more determined to succeed on her own.
Today, this successful entrepreneur owns her own wine brand called Ses’Fikile Wines, a name which when translated means, ”We have arrived and are here to stay”. This apt brand name is testament to her drive and determination to improve the wine industry with her knowledge, and more significantly, with her presence.
Whilst it has been a long and arduous journey, Nondumiso owes a lot to her relationship with the Black Association of Wine and Spirits Industry (BAWSI) and her continued relationship with Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards (her packaging partner).
Her hope for the future is to one day own her own vineyard and be more involved in the actual production process. She also hopes to sow back into the community that raised her by using a combination of her skills as a teacher and her flair for wine making to create a development programme for young, formally disadvantaged yet aspirant wine makers.