A Brief History of the Cape Winelands

A Brief History of the Cape Winelands: In order to properly contextualize this project, it is essential to have an understanding of the role wine has played in South Africa’s distant and recent history. In 1659, following the Dutch colonization of South Africa, the first vineyard was established in the northern suburb of Cape Town, called Constantia. The subsequent emergence of the wine industry led to a period of enslavement of the indigenous African and Indian and Indonesian populations. This period of oppression and enslavement evolved into a systemic period of government-mandated segregation, which became known as the apartheid. Until the release of Nelson Mandela in 1994, blacks (including Coloureds- groups recognized in South Africa as mixed race, Indian, and the indigenous group, Khoi) faced discrimination without equal access to education, jobs, and housing.  When the Rangaka family became viticultural landowners in 2003, this officially signaled an era of new opportunity for blacks in South Africa’s long and tumultuous history of winemaking.  Thus, the success of this family does not merely to add value to their business, rather it is an essential practical and symbolic measure of the progression of black people in South Africa’s young democracy.


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