South Africa’s Zulu royal lineage is a fascinating piece of history. The Zulu monarchy is constitutionally protected in South Africa and the palace at Nongoma is being upgraded at a cost of R300 million, meaning that the Zulu king is in the news at the moment on a regular basis. The most famous of the kings in this lineage is, of course, King Chaka.
His Majestey King Goodwill Zwelithini lends his support and the royal name and heritage to a work-creation project which includes a range of wines. The wines are not made in KwaZulu Natal, but at various prestigious wineries in the Western Cape, South Africa’s wine region. They are, however, selected by wine maker Altus le Roux and bottled with the Bayede! label. They are truly wines fit for a king!
As part of the project each bottle of wine is adorned by Zulu beadwork, the 7 Icons Wine being decorated with exquisite Zulu love letters in gold and brown. This project gives the women the king’s mother, Queen Thomo, regarded with special affection the dignity of sustainable employment. The gold beads were not traditionally used in Zulu beadwork, but they symbolise a new dawn, while brown symbolises the prosperity of a nation. Of course, a Zulu love letter still symbolises love and care which is why it is so appropriate to use this particular item to show the love and care of the king for his people, and the love of the vintners for their craft. Thus when you hold one of these love letters in your hand you are truly loving the people of South Africa.
The 7 Icon wines are sourced as follows: the Pinotage 2010 from Beyerskloof, the Merlot 2011 from Anthonij Rupert, the Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Vergelegen, the Shiraz 2011 from Tokara, the Chenin Blanc 2013 from Kleine Zalze, the Chardonnay 2012 from Danie de Wet and the Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from De Grendel.
I was present at a food at wine pairing event at which His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini and Her Royal Highness Queen Thandi were present. This was held at Diep in die Berg in Pretoria. I mention particularly the lovely cream based marula liqueur, ZuluRula, named for King Cyprian, the father of the present king. I took a bottle of that home with me. The various projects supported by this event were represented and we got to meet the “gutsy gogos” who do the beading, as well as children from the Ndlovu choir, one of the community projects supported by Diep in die Berg (and the sang beautifully).
One of the other projects is the packaging of rooibos tea, an excellent palate cleanser, also under the royal seal.