Through our partnership with Selati Sugar, we at The Coffee Magazine have begun to realise just how much sugar is a part of the everyday lives of South African’s. Think about it for a moment, imagine a typical home on an average morning...
“Pass the sugar please, Honey”, she asks, stretching her arm forward and curling her fingers towards the paper bag with the red sun on it.
The morning bustle on your average work day, the smell of steaming porridge and freshly brewed coffee fill the kitchen. He stands over the coffee machine his face lit by the soft morning light streaming through the window, his tie over his shoulder as he lovingly prepares coffee -for-two. She neatly places the paper bag down in front of her and proceeds to lightly touch the shimmering crystals. She contemplates the tiny crystals and furrows her brow: “I wonder where it comes from?” she asks as she casts her eyes up towards him.
“Interesting you ask,” He says, placing the steaming cups down in front of them. “This particular brand is grown right here in Eastern South Africa in the Mpumalanga Province. You see that big red circle on the bag? That symbolises the sun. Imagine the rising of the sun over farmers’ cane fields and the energy is each day within the cane. In fact, literally translated Mpumalanga means “the place where the sun rises”.
You may be asking, what brand is he even talking about? It’s Selati Sugar, proudly grown in South Africa. SA may fall just outside the coffee belt where the best coffee in the world is grown, but sugar cane is perfectly suited to the South African climate and growing conditions. There are many farmers who grow the sugar cane which they take to the sugar mills, where sugar syrup is extracted from the cane and then turned into sugar crystals, which you can find in these exact bags at your local food store.
Sugar, passed from spouse to spouse, dad to daughter, from mom to son, from grandparent to child is happening in households all across South Africa, as surely as the gentle morning winds ruffle through the sugar cane fields in the morning light, so too the sweetness of Selati sugar brings joy and energy to the lives of those who sprinkle Selati sugar in their cereal, bake it in their delicious treats or liven up their hot morning coffee.
Even more than this, Selati is making the lives of those who grow this sugar, over 1200 small scale farmers and their families, better through agronomy partnerships and mentoring programmes. Selati has also partnered with three land claim beneficiary trusts to grow and harvest cane, creating employment and enterprise development opportunities.
This means local people, from the growing areas of Mpumalanga and Pongola, with the help of Selati are able to produce excellent sugar products, products that you and I use every day - from castor and icing sugar to brown and white sugar, sweetners and sugar sachets in your local cafe and even Speciality Brown sugar products for cooking and baking.
In each project that Selati undertakes, they make a meaningful difference. The exciting news is that, in partnership with Coffee Magazine, this will be happening in the coffee industry in the near future, with Selati committing resources to barista training and skills development in previously disadvantaged areas.
Positive energy, uplifting South Africans!