The House of Mandela is one of approximately 50 black-owned wine brands in South Africa.
South Africa is among the top 9 wine producers in the world. But while Black South Africans represent nearly 90% of the population, they represent fewer than 8% of wine producers. Elected in 1994, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was South Africa’s first Black president. Mandela’s release from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, in 1990, after more than twenty-seven years in confinement, paved the way for the lifting of trade sanctions and the importation of South African wine into the United States. During this time, many wineries were established or taken over by new owners and black entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to enter the wine industry. In 2010, Nelson Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe and granddaughter Tukwini launched the House of Mandela wine brand, which includes a chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, and a sparkling wine. Tukwini has said: “When we started out, many people thought that House of Mandela was just a little project, a gimmick that would not last.” For the Mandela family, who are part of the royal aba Thembu lineage and the Madiba clan, honoring the ancient wisdom of one’s ancestors and honoring the earth give meaning and purpose to life. Upon the release of their wines, the family wrote, “we have chosen wine as a bridge into the future.”