In a week that saw certain South African place names being changed abruptly the South African wine industry learnt last night that it is now faced with a few new names of itself.
According to a directive from the Department of Arts, Culture and Agriculture, the Government decided it was time to adorn new identities on certain integral parts of the South African wine landscape. First up is Pinotage. Deemed South Africa’s national grape as it was founded on local soil as a crossing between Pinot Noir and Hermitage, Pinotage will from now on be known as “Huku machende”. Literally translated in the Shona language as “chicken testicles”, Huku machende colourfully illustrates the resemblance between a bunch of these wine grapes and the balls of the roosters who play such an important role in township life.
Triya Nutherun, spokesperson for the Department of Arts, Culture and Agriculture, says that this new term to describe South Africa’s native grape variety and its wine will decolonise the wine lexicon as well as making the grape and wine more approachable to the majority of South Africans.
“We love the man-chicken and we love its swinging little balls as it chases the hens between the township houses,” says Nutherun. “When our people see the wine ‘Huku machende’ on the bottle they are going to buy it and drink it because why, now they know it. Who knows Pinotage? Nobody. But everyone knows the chicken testicles, so now they know the wine too.”
Nutherun says the Department was proud to rename Pinotage as it is South Africa’s most famous wine. “It is going to be so wonderful, gosh!” he says, “and with this, Government is going to get involved with all that happens under the name Pinotage. Now you will see the Absa Top 10 Huku machende Competition and a lot of other exciting stuff to bring together the wine with the South Africans who don’t know the wine.”
The spokesperson says the changing of the name Pinotage was only the beginning of an exciting revised chapter of the South African wine industry. “We hope to shortly announce a new more democratic name for the Cap Classique sparkling wine, it is to be called ‘Fafaza’,” says Nutherun. “This Fafaza is the isiZulu word meaning ‘spray’, so beautiful as the Cap Classique is sprayed over all the loved ones when the cork is popped sending the wine spraying all over the people.”
Nutherun says the new name will definitely be legalised in time for the celebration of Cap Classique’s 50th anniversary, set to officially take place later this year. “It is going to be a great year for Fafaza, in which we can also still love Huku machende red wine. I look forward to seeing all South Africans raising a glass to this new chapter in the history of our wine industry with two names representing the soul of our people.”
The information office for the local wine industry was not available for comment as all representatives were at a conference in Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth.
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