CAPE TOWN, (The Southern African Times) – Joseph Dhafana was born on 7 March in 1982. He met Amelia Chakamba, his wife in 2002 when he was working for a cement company – Sino Zim in Gweru. The couple was blessed with a baby boy named Tinashe Sean.
As a result of Zimbabweans economic misfortunes, Joseph and his wife decided to trek down South for greener pastures. Even though they didn’t have enough money they placed their destiny on faith and hope that beyond the Limpopo river life would be better.
Although he was working, the economic realities remained challenging.It is when he and his wife decided to migrate to South Africa in pursuit of greener pastures. With no money and only hope and faith, they set off to South Africa leaving their young son with family.
They traveled by train to Beitbridge. When they crossed the border they had to wait for two weeks in Musina before getting permits so that they would be allowed to work freely in South Africa. They slept outside the home affairs buildings for all that time. They received their permits and they embarked on another journey.
They headed to Johannesburg by train again and stayed for another two weeks at the Central Methodist Church which was led by Bishop Paul Verryn. The church was meant for refugees. Circumstances forced Dhafana and Chakamba to stay there as refugees since they had nowhere else to go. They lived in fear as many foreigners were killed during the Xenophobic attacks.
Dhafana and wife then proceeded to Capetown where upon arrival he juggled two jobs as a gardener and served in restaurants. It is when he was working in restaurants that he discovered his passion for wine tasting.
Joseph joined then joined the prominent Bar Bar Black Sheep Restaurant as a dish washer and worked his way up through the kitchen, into the bar and onto the floor as a waiter.
Under the guidance and mentorship of people who saw Joseph’s talent, he fell in love with the idea of wine making and in 2013 he started studying wine at the University of Stellenbosch.
In 2014 when he was 32 , Dhafana started his wine company – Mosi Wines and Spirits. The company is 100% black owned. He faced a lot of challenges in the wine making industry.
“No sweat no sweet! Remember I buy grapes and make wine in other people’s establishments. So there are always challenges faced as you have to book harvesters for crushing grapes and even when picking up wine you can’t just just rock up as you wish but to book first. However all the owners of these facilities have been very cooperative,” he said.
“Apart from Mosi Wines, I also have a permanent job and a family. I like to keep myself busy and I was taught by my late father 17 years ago , I mean the one who have his name on my Syrah (Flavian), that a real man’s day should be at least 16 hours minimum. So until today I’m still doing that. Remember I’m the Head Sommelier of La Colombe restaurant and that’s my full time job,” said Dhafana.
Dhafana said Mosi Wines and Spirits is an abbreviation to Mosi-oa-Tunya, which is the Kololo name for the Victoria Falls translating as “the smoke that thunders. The brand has been able to ship over 5000 bottles of which 60% of sells are thanks to markets in Europe in countries such as the Netherlands, Estonia, Switzerland, Germany and soon to England.
In Africa, Dhafana’s home country which is Zimbabwe is the biggest importer followed by Kenya and Namibia. In South Africa , Mosi Wines and Spirits was founded in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth as well.
Last year in April Dhafana served as a judge at the Chenin Blanc Top 10 competition in Stellenbosch. He was also nominated for the Best Sommelier Award. Dhafana, was also awarded the prestigious 2019 Eat Out Wine Service Award for his contribution to wine service in the country, added: “I hope to expand our market share in order for people to experience the rich heritage the wine carries”.
Reported and Writtern By Sharon Dehwe and Edited by Samantha Reeves