Brewer Lethu Tshabangu established Ukhamba in July 2017 at The Palms Lifestyle Centre in Woodstock, Cape Town
Marketing Directer at UkhambaBeerWorx, Mlondolozi Hempe sums up the brewery as: “A space for people’s space.”
“I mean, we live off the African saying of ‘umntu ngumntu ngababantu’ (a person is a person through other people). We believe the people who create our environment make us who we are. It’s a social space where we meet, discuss ideas around good beer and food. Ukhamba is home,” he adds.
Brewer, Tshabangu — who started off as a waiter, says he spotted an opportunity in the production industry and bought books and started to network with people to learn more about the brewing industry back in 2013.
“What inspired the business other than motivation is necessity, the need to have the first black-owned craft brewery in the Mother City,” says Hempe.
“An additional ingredient is curiosity that is inspired by a long tradition of beer-making in the African culture. This led to a question: "Can we make contemporary beer with traditional beer-making ingredients? And the answer was, yes,” adds Hempe.
UkhambaBeerWorx operates under the philosophy of being honest and genuine about what the brand is and who represents it.
Among UkhambaBeerWorx’s greatest achievements is being named Beer of the Month at Hudsons Burger in November 2017 and “having our beer distributed to all the Hudson branches nationally”.
Hempe says: “Creating a space that is socially acceptable to our peers as well as having people who we work with and look up to happy.”
The company’s long-term strategy is to create pop-up breweries around the country that carry the concept and philosophy of Ukhamba to other Africans, the idea of sharing and creating a space where people are welcomed and treated with the respect they deserve.
“This is apart from our goal of increasing our market share and making certain concepts that are held dear to us accessible to all,” says Hempe.
Priding themselves on being experimental by nature, the team introduced a pre-mixed gin and tonic.
“It’s something that we have put on pause while we develop the idea,” Hempe says.
The company distributes to various beer outlets at the V&A Waterfront as well as national outlets including Hudson Restaurant, Beerhouse and League of Beer.