Hard Graft Pays off for First Female Black Hops Farmer in Africa


From the fertile valley of Grabouw, historically significant as one of the earliest movements towards black ownership of vineyards and wineries, Beverley-Anne Joseph has become the first, female, Black hops farmer in Africa – as Managing Director and co-owner of a 50 hectare farm.

 Located in Waboomskraal near George, Beverley’s farm, Zelpy, produces 20 hectares of bittering and flavour hops for Castle, Castle lite and craft. And it’s through the SAB Thrive Fund that this transaction was made possible.

 “As a young, Black South African, the biggest challenge for me,” says Beverley, “was startup capital and finding the right partner to provide business support.  SAB’s help with an interest-free loan to purchase the farm and Awethu’s professionalism and support in our engagement sessions were invaluable in making this possible.”

 Having learned to work the land alongside her dad, Morris, who has been in agriculture his whole life, the seed for this moment was sown in her youth. On finishing school, there was no question that Beverley wanted to be in agriculture: “As one of seven children, there was no funding for University and so I approached local farmers in the small Western Cape farming community to raise the much-needed funds. That’s when I landed up talking to Dr Paul Cluver, who gave me a bursary to study viticulture and oenology at Stellenbosch University.”

 After university, a call from SAB set her on a path of practicing and honing her knowledge and skill with her mentor, Thinus van Schoor, who helped her to truly explore beyond anything she had thought possible. 

The story of Beverley’s dedication and commitment is indelibly written in the pages of her CV with no room for doubt that her mother Anne-Marie’s, “never give up” attitude had become deeply embedded in her.

 At the age of [33] Beverley is more than a skilled farmer and business woman with vision for leading the charge in cutting edge changes in the hops field. Her life is centred by a strong drive to impact the core team of 10 people who work with her: “With so much land on the farm, there is huge scope to help my workers develop their own enterprises in vegetable farming, for example, to improve their living conditions and quality of lives. My dream is that the success of the farm will snowball into the community, South Africa and beyond.”

 About SAB Thrive

The SAB Thrive Fund is a black private equity fund that has been set up and funded by SAB, in partnership with the Awethu Project, to transform SAB’s supplier base through acquisition, business development and fostering entrepreneurship.

 About Awethu Project

The Awethu Project is one of Africa’s leading social enterprises, growing from a R60,000 startup to a R450M incubator and private equity fund manager. Awethu has incubated over 2,000 entrepreneurs and refined its SME equity investment model by innovating and testing equity investments in micro, small and medium enterprises alike.

 Awethu has been supported by individuals like its Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and with funding from the South African Government and some of the world’s leading companies, including South African Breweries, Absa, Impala Platinum, Imperial Logistics, Discovery Holdings, Accenture, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble. Awethu’s work has also been recognized internationally by the Echoing Green Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

 For more information contact : Thulisile Buzani – Awethu Project
081 370 6696