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BEVERAGES: Concerned Shebeeners To Uplift Communities


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CAPE Flats shebeeners have joined forces to start a grassroots initiative to uplift communities in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga and Delft.

The Inkanyezi Foundation, which is co-ordinated by Siwe Coka, a former shebeener and now a small business consultant, involves almost 2 000 informal liquor traders who plan to ‘plough back’ profits into surrounding communities.

"Many people turned to shebeening in the early Forties, when the formal economy was unable to accommodate them," says Ms Coka.

"But it was after 1994 when the industry really mushroomed as a result of liquor licences being issued left, right and centre. This led to an oversupply of shebeens in townships and cut-throat competition in an over-traded market.

"Today, the shebeen sector constitutes an estimated 40% of the value chain in the liquor industry. However most of the people employed in this sector are illiterate, unsophisticated and lack 21st century business skills. They were never taught business ethics, but were more preoccupied in meeting sales targets.

"Worse still, the sector became an easy conduit for illegal products such as stolen and counterfeit goods, sub-standard alcohol and tobacco, drugs and dodgy equipment. It also attracted underground activities such as money laundering and child pornography.

"However, among the many irresponsible traders, are also entrepreneurs who acknowledged the socio-economic impact of alcohol abuse and wanted to play a role in building up neighbouring communities," says Ms Coka.

This led to the establishment of the Inkanyezi Foundation which is involved in making donations towards burial services and school fees, creating jobs, supporting feeding schemes, and sponsoring local schools, soccer teams and social groups.

"Many of our members also play key roles in their local community policing forums and neighbourhood watches," says Ms Coka, who is also chairperson of the SA Women in Liquor Association (SAWIL).

The leading members of the Inkanyezi Foundation include Nolusapho Bottle Store in Gugulethu; Kiki’s Liquor Shop, Vukile Liquor Shop, Des Tavern, Koti’s Place, Fura’s Liquor Shop and Stila’s Place in Khayelitsha; Paradise Off-Sales in Nyanga; Whitehouse Liquor Shop in Walladene; Gauteng Tavern in Kleinvlei; Deep South Liquor Forum and Klein’s Liquor in Ocean View; the Atlantis Liquor Forum and the Overberg Liquor Forum.

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