BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Tinashe Nyamudoka’s story of self- actualization

It has been reported that the majority of Africans migrating are choosing to migrate within Africa (Afrobarometer 2019). Notable in this study is the movement of Zimbabweans from their home country to South Africa in pursuit of greener economic pastures. The migration of Zimbabweans to South Africa, both legal and illegal, has become so significant that it has found its place on several political and policy agendas in the two countries.

Beyond the politics, it is without a doubt that there is a synergy between the nations that continues to birth thought leaders, captains of industry and flourishing entrepreneurs. This dates back to the apartheid era where South Africa’s liberation party, the African National Congress (ANC), saw several members of its military wing Mkhonto We Sizwe (MK) being hosted, supported and trained within the borders of their northern neighbor. When we fast forward to today, the movement is undoubtedly skewed in the opposite direction, with Zimbabweans often leaving everything behind to cross the Limpopo river in pursuit of their dreams.

This is the backdrop to Tinashe Nyamudoka’s story of self- actualization. Tinashe transformed his life from working in a supermarket in Harare, Zimbabwe, to polishing cutlery in Cape Town, South Africa, then being promoted to waiter, training to become a sommelier and finally owning Kumusha Wines, his own wine brand. Historically, wine production has been associated with generational wealth and upper- class societies who are consumed with the exclusivity of the beverage’s culture. However, this young, black Zimbabwean is shattering this stereotype in epic proportions.

Kumusha Wines is based at Opstal Estate in Slanghoek Valley, situated in the notoriously white dominated Western Cape winelands. When asked whether being such a fish out of water in this environment has ever caused him to experience imposter syndrome whilst on his quest to be taken seriously as a black winemaker he responds, “you constantly had to find ways to fit in and having to be pretentious. I remember walking into wine tastings being the only black person other than the waitrons”. He admits to have never even tasted wine before he crossed the South African boarder and took on his first job there, however he says what instantly ignited his passion for it was “the whole history of wine, how its connected to a place, the people, food and culture”.

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Naturally the next thought is ‘how was he able to be taken seriously under those circumstances?’ – a self- made, Zimbabwean migrant trying to break into one of the world’s most elitist clubs – Tinashe says “I made sure that I had a solid business model. I had to execute well sourcing quality wines and making sure my branding stood out”. His brand name “Kumusha” is a Shona word meaning village, an ode to his humble beginnings.

“I was missing home like most of my countrymen living outside the country. I needed something that could take me back home, and whenever I smelled and drank wine I would associate it with the wild fruits I grew up eating kumusha (in the village)”.

A quick browse through Tinashe’s Instagram page reveals how truly connected he is to both his country Zimbabwe, and his village in Nyanga. He loves going back to the village to reconnect with is roots.

“I always get inspired with how the village people are farming organic produce. It’s because they can’t afford fertilizers and chemicals, but in a way not realizing that’s the best practice. I’m in the process of taking up farming and recently drilled a borehole.”

This sentiment is demonstrative of the essence of African excellence – a people often engaging in best practice without realizing it. It is clear that Tinashe’s kumusha influence, accompanied by his zeal for more and passion to excel are all factors that have contributed to Kumusha Wines becoming a power brand that is consumed and celebrated in every corner of the earth.

What could possibly be next for this pioneer? Tinashe Nyamudoka will start planting vineyards in Zimbabwe in the next year or two, as well as create a brandy and a cider. If you want to experience a touch of his excellence in Nigeria, you need not look any further than one of Victoria Island’s latest dining experiences, The Wine Lab, an establishment whose creation he was a part of. His story truly validates the notion that excellence knows no borders.