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BY Abu Mubarik, 4:00pm September 28, 2021,

How this South African man rose from dishwasher to wine connoisseur

Founder of Khayelitsha's Finest Wines Lindile Ndzaba. Photo: YouTube/Saxenburg Wine Estate

Lindile Ndzaba is a wine entrepreneur who started his journey as a dishwasher. From a dishwasher in a restaurant, the South African man managed to work his way up into restaurant management positions and eventually ventured into the wine industry. 

Ndzaba comes from Cape Town, a city with big wine culture. He was exposed to the wine culture during his time working behind the bar. He was intrigued by it. He founded Khayelitsha’s Finest Wines with the sole aim of introducing wine culture to the streets of Khayelitsha, a township in Western Cape, and share a bit of Khayelitsha with the world.

His business is 100 percent Black-owned and since it was launched in 2018, it has received great support and recognition from the wine industry.

“Although hesitant at first, the brand was quickly embraced and celebrated by the market eKasi as a brand that they can relate to and a brand that speaks to them,” Ndzaba told IOL.

The wine entrepreneur currently works with winemakers and vineyards, including top brands like Fledge & Co. and Saxenburg Wine Estate in other to supply South African townships with good quality wine.

“Furthermore, I would like to showcase the talent and ambition within Khayelitsha and townships at large. We are more than poverty and crime; Khayelitsha is home to brilliant minds,” he said.

The Capetonian said starting his own win brand didn’t come easy but he was determined to explore an untapped market by bringing his label to townships. According to him, gaining the trust and support of the townships was initially challenging. He is currently working to build a good name and get the brand in restaurants.

Despite the challenges, Ndzaba is optimistic about the success of his wine brand. He is also inspiring other young Black entrepreneurs not to fear prestigious fields and industries. 

“Start somewhere. We do not own vineyards, we do not have the skills, facilities or cultural background to start up yet. As a collective so much can be achieved, we need to work hard now to enter these spaces so that it is easier for the next generation to do so,” he told IOL.

In addition to breaking barriers, Khayelitsha’s Finest Wines also does charity work in South African townships and also runs several feeding schemes.

Winemaker at Saxenburg Wine Estate, Dirk van Zyl, said startups like Khayelitsha’s Finest Wines are important for the global wine industry. 

“For a very long time, the wine industry in South Africa has not been transformed enough. This project is so exciting, as it allows for more people to explore wine culture, which is so much more than just a liquid.”

Winemaker and co-owner of The Fledge & Co Leon Coetzee said Khayelitsha’s Finest Wines are “nothing short of excellent, encompassing the whole of Cape Town in a glass.”

“Lindile has opened the opportunity for the wine industry to enter an untapped market, coming from the right angle. He puts heart and soul into his work and this is something customers will appreciate in years to come. He knows his customers well and has created the opportunity to grow a customer base and new niche within townships,” he added.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 28, 2021


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