How a Zimbabwean Refugee Became a Top Wine Maker in South Africa Business

The remarkable story of Joseph Dhafana, the founder of Mosi Wines and Spirits

by Motoni Olodun

Joseph Dhafana is a Zimbabwean refugee who fled his country in 2009 and found a new life in South Africa as a winemaker and sommelier. His journey from gardener to head sommelier at the iconic La Colombe restaurant in Cape Town is a remarkable story of resilience and passion. He is also the founder of Mosi Wines and Spirits, a brand that reflects his heritage and culture.

Dhafana grew up in Chirumhanzu, a rural area in Zimbabwe, where he helped his parents with subsistence farming. He had no exposure to wine until he celebrated his 29th birthday with a glass of sparkling wine at a bar where he worked as a barman. He did not like the taste but was intrigued by the process of making wine from grapes.

He decided to pursue his interest in wine and enrolled in various courses and programs at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Cape Wine Academy, the South African Sommeliers Association, the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy, and the Court of Master Sommeliers Europe. He also started making his own wine from grapes he bought from local farmers.

His talent and dedication earned him recognition and respect in the wine industry. He became the head sommelier at La Colombe, one of the best restaurants in South Africa, and also a wine judge, a board member of the Black Cellar Club, and a captain of Team Zimbabwe at the World Blind Tasting Championships.

He launched his own brand, Mosi Wines and Spirits, in 2016, naming it after Victoria Falls, which borders Zimbabwe and Zambia. His wines are made from 100% South African grapes and are low intervention, meaning they have minimal chemical additives. He says his wines are a bottled story of his journey and identity.

Dhafana is a successful winemaker, a generous mentor, and a social activist. He helps aspiring aspiring sommeliers and wine stewards achieve their dreams and supports various charities promoting education and human rights. He also advocates for recognizing and including African winemakers and consumers in the global wine scene.

Dhafana’s story inspires many people who face challenges and hardships in their lives. He proves that anything is possible with passion, perseverance, and hard work. He also shows that wine is a drink and a way of expressing culture and celebrating diversity.

Source: Forbes Africa

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