The /Xam San, known in colonial times as the Bushmen, were the painters of the rock art we find in the Cape Fold mountains. They were the original environmentalists, regulating their behaviour in harmony with plant and animal cycles, astral movements and climatic phenomena. They saw land as a source of life, a gift to mankind that nourishes, supports and teaches.
Today in South Africa, our wine industry is in a unique position to benefit from this rich heritage, to regain that understanding of our environment, and to relearn this sense of belonging to a natural place. The /Xam San had a word for this, which neatly embodies the new philosophy of the South African wine industry. The word is #hannuwa. This ancient San word means the gathering of good fortune through living in sustainable harmony with our natural environment.
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has driven a huge awareness campaign inwards to all our producers because we know that the #hannuwa philosophy must take root where it all starts, at farm level. In total, we have over 3 600 primary producers, many of them mixed farmers.
In December 2005, WOSA mailed them a commitment to sign and a diversity survey to complete, and over 570 producers, representing more than 40% of land planted to vine, signed the following pledge:
I HEREBY COMMIT MYSELF
- To farm sustainably.
- To be a custodian of the land and preserve it for our future generations.
- To nurture a culture of respect among the people who work with us on our farms and in our cellars.
- To promote an environment of dignity, equality and upliftment for all.
- To protect the unique and valuable biodiversity of our winelands.
- To safeguard the rich heritage of South Africa’s winelands.
#hannuwa is an African wisdom that is now more than 70 000 years old. We are embracing it with enthusiasm and it is the inspiration for Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA).