Steeped in colourful history, Soweto has long been an abundant source of artistic inspiration. It has shined it's light on and produced distinguished people - and I’m inclined to say that there is no other place like it. And with that very same logic, brew-master Ndumiso Madlala, was so infatuated with this culturally multifaceted location, that he founded Soweto Gold at the Ubuntu Kraal in Orlando West, with Heineken as a partner.
This beer, born and brewed eKasi, celebrates the true spirit of Soweto on its most famous landmark, the Orlando Cooling Towers. Designed by local illustrator, fine artist and graphic designer, Karabo Poppy Moletsane, the tower stands tall as a piece of art representing the iconic and creative cultural spirit that bursts from every Soweto street.
“The tower design captures the vibrancy of Soweto, the Kasi connection moments that bring its people together, the expressiveness of language and the pride of its people”, affirms Moletsane. And with a lineage firmly rooted in the heart of Soweto, Moletsane’s art vividly and beautifully interprets the heartbeat of Soweto’s streets.
The artwork serves as a microcosm of Kasi culture, as it looks at the diversity that makes Soweto such a compelling source of Kasi pride for people everywhere - using the seemingly humdrum but presenting it in an extraordinary way that derives insight from uniquely South African barbershop and hair salon signage.
“By making use of the talents of Karabo, we celebrate the people through the people. For us, this is more than just a mural on a tower, it’s a piece of art that represents, and celebrates, the spirit eKasi, which our Kasi brothers and sister across the country can take pride in,” says Madlala.
What I can attest to is that the aesthetic of the tower is not one that is trying to be like any other, it is one that has been cultivated by South Africans for South Africans. It’s unmistakably ours. “Soweto isn’t just in the people of Soweto, but in the people of South Africa”, says Moletsane.
This superior award-winning original Soweto Gold is a craft lager, with a clear firm white head, medium bodies, very malt-forward beer with the slightest hoppiness. It has low low bitterness and a light rounded smooth caramel finish. It’s an easy all-day session beer that is best served chilled. My favourite way to enjoy it is with authentically South African braaied meat.
Not enough people know the difference between a lager and an ale, and not many people care as long as the beer tastes good.
It’s a good thing Soweto Gold tastes great!