The Latest Craze

14 Sep

In Botswana things often appear to happen for a season… as opposed to for a reason. We tend to pounce on a trend as consumers and business people, which in itself isn’t strange since everyone does it all over the world. What is strange is when it becomes a craze, an honest to goodness lets rush this thing while we can craze… Here is where we throw in examples… BMW 3 series, Fong kongs, even Block 8 was a craze, no really.
That mysterious section of Gaborone came up overnight, literally and it shows… who knows maybe an MP needed a new constituency before the next elections and pressed all the right buttons. Make the time and just take a drive around Block 8 and you will not understand whether you are coming or going. You will see anomalies like a mansions squeezed into tiny looking pieces of land, which in turn sandwich a two room home between them; meanwhile in the yard across the road there would be a promising looking foundation slab which looks 40 years old. On the roads there is a plethora of combis circling the streets with no rhyme or reason, taking a drive while looking for an address you would swear you saw the same combi thrice in 15 minutes, yet the route number changed five times. Dotted through out the suburb are huge schools with mystical sounding names like New Era, Livingstone Kolobeng (where the Kolobeng part confuses the Livingstone part and visa versa) or Al Nur. If there was anything cool, calm and collected about Block 8, it wouldn’t be as chaotic as the rest of the city, this is why it is a classic symptom of a craze.

With the solitary Stanbic Bank Wine Festival evening about to be joined by more wine based affairs, the trickle of wine is swiftly gathering into a full on flow of a craze as well. Honestly, it is going to be a welcome addition to Gaborone’s social landscape which is often accused of lacking in any defining features. I pointed out a one night stand wine affair set to fill the President Hotel soon with lovers of the vine and a few “buxed up” chancers looking for something to do… it just got interesting. I received an update which addressed the glaring omission of what exactly the oenophiles (and others) will be up against on the night. Versus Natural Sweet Rose, Welmoed Cabernet Sauvignon, Leopards Leap Lookout Red, Welmoed Sauvignon Blanc, Kumala Sauvignon Blanc Colombard, Leopards Leap Chardonnay. Fine Wines will be on hand to try and throw a little knowledge into the drinkers along with the wine.

An online publication recently had a double page spread announcing a wine festival on the horizon… somewhere. The local big dog of booze, Liqourama, may be backing this wine fest which suggests that Cape 57 Wine Festival could be something to keep a wine glass handy for. When you consider that Distell and the Nederburg Rare Wine Auction partnered with Liquorama to give Botswana wine lovers an opportunity to bid on the exceptional offerings of the annual auction, you will feel an involuntary tinge of anticipation. Retail behemoths Pick n Pay and Spar (who own Tops bottle stores) can very well throw their independent weight behind a serious wine affair locally. Pick N Pay does the Taste of Joburg and Taste of Cape Town which are about food, but encompass wine. Tops powers two wine Festivals in South Africa that are geared at “the market” (read that as Black People) the 7 year old Soweto Wine Festival and the one year old Tops Gugulethu Wine Festival. The two festivals based in the most famous townships of Gauteng and the Western Cape, respectively, are making inroads into the black communities that they are engaging. Pick N Pay also have an event that encompasses wine. So its only for a smart local fellow (or fellowette) to say to those big boys, “Come here, Botswana is a thirsty place. If we could blow about BWP80 million during the World Cup season (based solely on Visa transactions!) imagine how much we can spend on wine every month… Every Month!”

Take it from me, its about to be a blood sport out there when wine festivals gather momentum as yet another form of entertainment… well that and an upgrade of the lifestyle choices of Gaborone, Africa’s Fastest Growing City/Economy/Thirst.

Pic -Juletjess on deviantART, Soweto & Gugulethu Wine Festivals &

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