Over a decade ago, a couple in Khayelitsha had a dream of starting their own gin company. That dream became a reality on Saturday when Luvuyo and Nodumo Jongile launched the first black owned gin brand in Africa called Mayine Premium Gin.

Named after their son, it means “Let it rain”. ┬áThe company produces two flavours; grape-based gin and Rooibos infused gin. The couple hope to release more flavours soon.

“We started this journey in 2016. We wanted a township distilled gin because we wanted something that resonates with the people,” said Luvuyo.

Guests enjoyed the proper township experience when they were invited to taste the two gins paired with African inspired dishes.

The journey was not one without challenges. “We had problems with licensing but they were soon resolved. Trying to break the monopoly of the sector was not easy either,” he said.

Jongile’s vision also entails empowering his community through Corporate Social Investment (CSI).

“We will build Khayelitsha until it becomes a city. International brands are taking money and they are not giving back. We will have CSI projects where we invest in other developing entrepreneurs.”

The product is gaining popularity quickly, they are inundated with orders from local tavern owners and wine farms. They’re currently negotiating with bigger liquor stores too, so you’ll be able to grab a bottle anywhere.

Aside from growing their business substantially, they also plan on hosting a gin festival every November, opening a restaurant and extending their product range to craft vodka and craft whiskey.

Human settlements MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela and City of Cape Town’s Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli were also at the pop-up gin tasting event, they showered the owners with words of encouragement.

At a modestly priced R290 you can enjoy a bottle of finely made gin, knowing that it was created with heart right in here the city.

Photography: Mayine Premium Gin

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