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Robben Island wine for Madiba

Cape Town - Wine made from vines planted more than three decades ago on Robben Island has been delivered to Nelson Mandela for his 94th birthday.

On Thursday, staff from Weltevrede Wine Estate near Bonnievale handed over the bottle of sweet wine to Jakes Gerwel, chairman of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, who will hand-deliver the gift to Madiba.

Jakes Gerwel, left, with Philip Jonker with The Parable. Picture: David Ritchie. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The vines were in ruins for years before Weltevrede staff volunteered three years ago to “nurse” them back to life.

Weltevrede owner Philip Jonker presented the first bottle to Gerwel.

Weltevrede communications officer Steyn Fullard said the occasion was “a dream realised”.

“These vines were planted while Mr Mandela was on the island, or a few years before,” Fullard said. After three years of pruning and tending, staff had “managed to make the first wine from Robben Island as a gift to Mr Mandela for his 94th birthday”. - Cape Argus

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