Paul Siguqa, 41, grew up aspiring to be a farm owner. His parents were farmworkers in South Africa’s province of the Western Cape and that fueled his aspiration. Today, Siguqa is the first Black owner of a wine farm in Franschhoek, a town in the Western Cape. He bought Klein Goederust Franschhoek Boutique Winery for R12m ($762,000). That was money he saved up over many years, including from his work as a media manager.
Owning a farm is not only a milestone for Siguqa but for the Black population in his country that is still struggling to control the juiciest sector of South Africa’s economy in the hands of the white minority.
“You know, this is a dream come true, but I didn’t do this just for myself, I did this for those who must see there is life and hope beyond the farm wall,” he told BusinessLIVE. “Farmworkers knew nothing else than working in the vineyards and earning far too little. It is incredibly difficult being a farmworker, and being a farm worker’s child.”
The journey all began two years ago when Siguqa and his best friend, Rodney Zimba, came across the original Klein Goederust farmhouse which was in bad shape. The remaining vines at the winery were diseased and had to be destroyed, according to BusinessLIVE.
After taking ownership of the wine farm, he and his partner worked to restore the vineyards. Today, the original Klein Goederust farmhouse which was built in 1902 is now a restaurant and events space while the stable is a wine-tasting room.
Siguqa credits much of his success to his mother. He told Food for Mzansi that his mother continuously inspired him to change the narrative about farmworkers’ children in South Africa, who mostly also grow up to become farmworkers.
“Doing my little bit to change the narrative is my biggest achievement,” he said. “The narrative is that being born as a child of a farmworker, you might end up being the next farmworker. The greatest thing is the jobs we have created. That, to me, is the biggest achievement and I would like us to build on that to create more jobs.”
Siguqa now has 17 permanent staff members and during harvesting season, he brings in some 50 workers to help. Now living in Gauteng with his wife and two children, Siguqa’s next move is to expand and acquire more lands. One of his top priorities is to get a cellar. He told Food for Mzansi recently that he has gone through the process of acquiring one, including all the things needed to build it.