September is a month of celebration in South Africa. We return to roots, we gather, and we celebrate that which makes us quintessentially South African.
South Africa’s heritage is deeply rooted in its distinctiveness. While it is rare for a country to have both a diverse cultural and natural heritage, we find ourselves blessed with both; an abundance of cultures framed within a deep and wide natural and historical context.
The cultural diversity that comes from being the Rainbow Nation, set against the backdrop of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Karoo, spectacular coastlines, breathtaking mountain ranges, and awe-inspiring desert regions, gives an unmitigated sense of uniqueness. And with uniqueness, there is also that lingering sense of luxury, of taking part in something that cannot be experienced anywhere else.
Interestingly, the new global sense of luxury has shifted away from broad material acquisition towards the attainment of limited editions and one-of-a-kind experiences. The kind that South Africa offers in abundance. Indeed, there are several local luxury brands who have intimately understood this shift, and accordingly, have tapped into South Africa’s heritage and placed it at the core of their brand proposition. They have recognised our country’s exceptionalism and manifested it into ultra-premium and luxury products that give the opportunity to celebrate our heritage while recognising its rarity and beauty.
As South Africa celebrates Heritage Month this September, we salute the luxury brands – from wine and tea to fashion and jewellery – that are showcasing South Africa with a strong storyline in a way that not only highlights the incredible heritage of the country but also elevates it to an international audience at the extreme high end of the market, thereby opening up new possibilities for the pursuit of excellence and commercial exchange.
For those who like to savour a glass of rare wine, De Toren Private Cellar is a fine example of highly collectable red wines crafted in small batches. This boutique estate, situated in Stellenbosch, is recognised on the global wine stage and yet its success comes from drawing inspiration from its local surroundings.
De Toren began with an exceptional view – stretching from Helderberg, over False Bay and across to Table Mountain – and by recognising the untapped potential of its unique Stellenbosch hillside location. Working with the estate’s South African soil – known to be among the oldest soil in the world – and unique setting, De Toren has hand-crafted multiple award-winning Bordeaux styled wines of unique expression with complexity, depth and power. These investment wines give an honest expression of the South African land and the estate’s unique coastal location.
The Sea Point, Cape Town café and pâtisserie Coco Safar has also tapped into South Africa’s unique natural heritage, turning to fynbos to craft a range of signature cold brews, sparkling iced teas and kombuchas bottled in exquisite packaging. Coco Safar has also elevated South Africa’s iconic rooibos tea to a new premium and created two ranges of Nespresso-compatible tea capsule collections, entitled ‘Cape Town’ and ‘Stellenbosch’. A simple concept that demonstrates that our humble rooibos tea stands equally alongside one of the world’s favourite beverages – coffee.
Clothes and fashion have long been a symbol of tradition and culture and MAXHOSA AFRICA turns to cultural heritage as the starting point for its luxury clothing designs. The premium knitwear and homeware brand celebrates a Xhosa aesthetic. Traditional Xhosa beadwork, patterns, symbolism and colours are reinterpreted into modern luxury pieces. By showcasing the beauty, culture, language, and aspirations of the Xhosa people, MAXHOSA AFRIKA has created a relevant clothing and furniture line with a strong grounding in heritage, the utter fabulousness of which has found resonance with global audiences.
Like MAXHOSA AFRIKA, South African jewellery brand PICHULIK incorporates African artistry and ornamentation, yet in a less patterned form. PICHULIK distils the sacred wisdom of ancient traditions to create unique and intentional pieces of luxury jewellery that are making statements across the globe.
What these brands reveal, is that when South Africa’s heritage is closely and intelligently intertwined with a luxury offering, it translates into astoundingly beautiful and exceptional quality products and superlative experiences that make the world sit up and realise how singular South Africa is… The “new luxury” is astonishingly realised here, with a distinct home ground advantage that is being appreciated and favoured all around the world.