South Africa: Let the Evening Begin

analysis

Goodbye craft. Hello premium. Nzeka Biyela's lockdown gin story is one of bitter disappointment turned sweet success, but without the sugar. Pass the soda, please.

If life serves up lemons, let gin be your tonic. Syphon in soda. And you have a storyline for some of the chapters of Nzeka Biyela's life to date, the thread of which has been as moody (taken to mean unpredictable) as her recently launched gin range.

To speed-read through the relevant bits of the 32-year-old entrepreneur's life-to-gin. Her journey has taken her from the rural Zululand township of Esikhaleni via an Afrikaans primary school in Richards Bay to Durban Girls' College. While there, on a career day, Stellenbosch University grabbed her interest with its less predictable options. "It offered a military academy and winemaking (viticulture and oenology)."

She knew very little about wine and had no interest in drinking alcohol. But winemaking sounded intriguing so she committed.

After a year of physics, chemistry and theory overload, she knew it wasn't for her. A visit to the student advisory centre and a couple of assessment tests later, she switched to a BA in human resources management. Which didn't grab her either. "But I didn't want...

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