November 3, 2023

Tatenda Matsikiwa: From Zimbabwean Roots to Cape Winelands Success


Tatenda Matsikiwa, a 28-year-old young man hailing from the Great Ruins of Zimbabwe, embarked on an incredible journey that took him from the vast landscapes of his homeland to the lush vineyards of Cape Winelands. His story is a testament to his resilience and the remarkable twists of fate.

After dedicating 4 years of his life to studying law in China, Tatenda’s path took an unexpected turn. In 2020, while on a vacation in Cape Town, the world was struck by the force of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving Tatenda stranded in a foreign land with no source of income.

Desperate times called for unconventional measures, and he found himself employed at Kanu Wines as a humble weed remover in the vineyards. Tatenda worked diligently for four months, a job he had never envisioned for himself. Little did he know that this seemingly ordinary position would become the first step on a remarkable journey.

In May 2021, fate intervened once more when the winemaker of Kanu, Johan Grimbeek, extended an unexpected invitation for Tatenda to join his esteemed cellar team.
It was in the cellar that Tatenda’s passion for winemaking truly blossomed. Over the course of two years, he immersed himself in the art of crafting fine wines, from participating in the harvests to the meticulous blending of varietals. One wine, in particular, stood out – the 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, which he affectionately named the “Tatenda Wine.” Tatenda’s daily routine of tasting and evaluating wine awakened a profound desire to become a part of the vibrant world of wine culture.

Determined to expand his knowledge and expertise, Tatenda eagerly sought guidance from the winemaker, Johan, bombarding him with countless questions about the intricate nuances of winemaking. Inspired by the wine connoisseurs he observed in the tasting room, he approached Cobus Germishuys, the tasting room manager, with a request for wine tasting notes. This led to yet another unexpected opportunity, and Tatenda found himself working in the tasting room during weekends.

Fuelled by his newfound passion, Tatenda enrolled in the South African Wine course at Cape Wine Academy and pursued the Introductory Sommelier Course with SASA. Now, he sets his sights on achieving the titles of Junior Sommelier and ultimately, the prestigious Master of Wines and Master Sommelier accolades. For Tatenda Matsikiwa, the sky is not the limit; it’s just the starting point of an extraordinary journey filled with endless possibilities. His inspirational story reminds us that with determination and a love for what we do, there are no boundaries to what we can achieve.

It’s worth noting that the Farm Kanu had a historical connection to Cecil John Rhodes in the early 1900s, with Rhodes himself residing on this very farm. This historical tie is also the origin of the Rifle Range wine series. Considering Tatenda’s Zimbabwean roots, one can’t help but imagine that even Cecil John Rhodes would have taken pride in Tatenda’s achievements today.