Unsung wine workers honoured with prestigious 1659 medal of honour
1659 Medal Of Honour.
Dr Ernest Messina, Chairperson of Groot Constantia, said this year’s award heralds a shift in emphasis of what was the practice until now: “Our purpose is to give a voice to all contributors, to bring to light new perceptions of historical facts and to confirm greater appreciation and respect for everyone’s contributions.”
Dr Messina said he trusts this will usher in a tipping point for the industry – especially in changing attitudes, giving recognition and achieving unity. He emphasised that everyone’s stories must be told to create a more representative picture of the role-players.
“Described in wine language – the blend is more complete and thus better. In this way we achieve justice. This industry is owned by all of us as we are co-creators of the industry historically and presently. We must continue to build in harmony on the solid foundation laid by Simon van der Stel and so many others who will sadly remain anonymous.”
Unique to this event is the production of a DVD to bring to light lesser-known facts such as Simon van der Stel being a descendant of a free slave; to recognise the contribution of the slaves and indigenous groups such as the KhoiKhoi to the foundation and the preservation of the industry; and to give the opportunity to unknown voices to tell their stories with pride and dignity.
Photo: Representatives from the industry received the 1659 medal of honour on behalf of the wine workers: From left to right: Dr Ernest Messina (Chairperson, Groot Constantia Board), Katazile Mtshikwana (Oom Tsotsi) (retired wine worker, Koopmanskloof), Awie Adolf (Cellar Master and shareholder, Fairview), Nellie Cloete (retired wine worker, Groot Constantia), Hermanus Bienas (2017 winner of the Western Cape Prestige Agri Awards and Assistant Manager, Kys Nursery, Vredendal.