Graham Knox

September 2016

Philippi Vineyards Rise Again

When Public Broadcasting System (USA) photo-journalist Martin Seemungal drifted an aerial drone carrying a camera over the shacklands of Gugulethu, the lens revealed action in a backyard. Manelisi Mapukata was planting vines behind his home. Manelisi expects that these vines provide the grapes that will make his first wines at The Township Winery in 2019.

For over 100 years, today’s Gugulethu was part of greater Philippi with its 20 hectare plots of orchards, vineyards and vegetable plots. Then apartheid infrastructure chased away most of the farmers and resettled millions of non-voters there. Before long, Gugulethu became one of the most densely settled low-rise residential areas on the planet. This is where The Township Winery has planted vineyards in the limestone rich soils of the Cape Flats, between homes, schools and streets. And this is where Manelesi plans to convert his grapes into the first wines from the Cape Flats in a century.

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