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Soweto Gold takes over the tower

2018-06-24 08:44

Johannesburg - It was an eKasi-style event at Chaf Pozi restaurant in Orlando on Thursday at the unveiling of new township-brewed Soweto Gold-inspired artwork on one of the two iconic cooling towers in Soweto.

There was a huge turnout at the event, and guests included soccer legend Doctor Khumalo, dance artist DJ Ganyani and representatives from Heineken, the brand that bought Soweto Gold last year.

While the unveiling was under way, tourists were enjoying bungee jumping off the towers, high above Chaf Pozi.

The founder of the beverage, Ndumiso Madlala, told the audience that they should not underestimate the power of their dreams.

He said that, while growing up in Soweto, he used to drive past the towers at the decommissioned Orlando Power Station and wish that he could influence the way they looked one day. He studied chemical engineering and worked for big alcohol companies before leaving his job to develop his own beer.

“There was no other place to set up our brewery than here. Soweto is already a big brand in itself. The name, Soweto Gold, was carefully researched – referencing our history and how it started with gold. We’ve received a lot of recognition for what we’ve accomplished, notably from the premier of Gauteng. Then Heineken knocked on our door and we partnered with them. Soweto Gold is one of the few brands that was born in the townships,” Madlala said.

Illustrator and designer Karabo Poppy Moletsane is the artist behind the tower’s black and gold design. Featuring Toyota Quantum taxis, hair combs, All Star takkies, mealies and bars of gold, the illustration is about Joburg and Soweto’s history and culture.

She said she still couldn’t believe her work was now on one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country.

“It doesn’t feel real. Today is the first time I’ve seen it in person since designing it on a computer. I feel really privileged that I get to be a 26-year-old who adds to South Africa’s history. I never thought I would be able to do that, never mind with art,” she said.

Moletsane has achieved international acclaim with her illustrations, and has created work for the likes of Nike, Woolworths, Google and the Berkeley Art Museum.

Khumalo said he was honoured to be chosen as one of the beer’s ambassadors along with other soccer stars, including former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena.

Guests enjoyed cans of Soweto Gold chilled in wheelbarrows filled with ice, and later tucked into a spit braai and tried their hand at foosball against Orlando Pirates players.

All the while, the black and gold tower glowed in the background – a beacon of eKasi creativity

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