#MyJoburg with Tšepang Molisana, oenophile and property developer

05 Mar 2024
In our #MyJoburg series, we speak to people who add something unique to Joburg's creative mix and get the lowdown on what enthrals them about this city. 

Tšepang Molisana is a multi-talented marvel who has dipped her toes into everything from the world of wine to property. She writes about food and wine for various publications, has appeared on radio and TV, and in 2016 she was awarded the Veritas Young Wine Writer of the Year Award. She has completed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 2 Award qualification in Wines, an Advanced Brandy Certificate, and a Cap Classique Level 1 Certificate from the Cape Wine Academy. She also hosts a podcast, In My Kitchen, works as a property developer and practitioner, and was a finalist for The Island Prize in 2022 for the manuscript of her début novel Bread and Butter Pudding.

What brought you to Joburg or makes you stay here?
I was born at Park Lane Hospital and raised in Katlehong, Leondale, and Alberton. I was working as a magazine editor in Cape Town when I had the opportunity to come home to work on a property development in Vosloorus. I packed a bag, returned to Johannesburg, and haven’t looked back since.
Wine writer and property developer Tšepang Molisana. Photo: Tšepang Molisana via Instagram.

Tell us how your interest in wine was sparked, and what excites you about SA's wine industry?
I learnt about wine when I worked at Lesedi Bottle Store in Vosloorus. I had the opportunity to work as a travel writer in Cape Town and drew on those early memories and experiences. I continue to write [about wine] because I am constantly inspired. I marvel at the people, agriculture, economy, changing weather patterns, global trade, and gastronomy that ebb and flow around us. I’m incredibly grateful for the stories I encounter and the candour of those who share their stories with me.

What's the one wine label we need to watch out for, and why?
Brookdale. Brookdale’s cellar is led by a young woman, Kiara Scott Farmer [the youngest head female winemaker in South Africa]. She was the protégé of Duncan Savage, who assisted the property in its nascence. The Paarl property has one of the most exquisite hospitality experiences in the country. From its field blends to its Chenin, Brookdale is playing a game with a winning hand.

"I love Joburg's layers. From the minerals that still sparkle at its core, to how it wants to wash off its grime and give people hope and a place to love, be loved, and fall in love."

Tell us more about your podcast.
Being on the radio with Jenny Cryws-Williams taught me the power of audio, and how incredible the medium is as a means of connecting with people. During the loneliness of the pandemic, I was drawn to the conversations I had with family around the kitchen table. I wanted to hold onto the precious way we shared stories, ate good food, [enjoyed] the best wine from our collection, spoke about good books and TV shows, and the best parts of human nature. That’s what [the podcast] In My Kitchen is. I bring the wine, we speak about pop culture and the dish [we serve up]. [It’s an opportunity to] share something or someone who is making the world a sweeter place.
Brookdale wine estate in Paarl. Photo: Brookdale via Instagram.

What one restaurant would you recommend to anyone who comes to Joburg to visit? Why?
It used to be DW eleven-13 [a fine-dining restaurant in Dunkeld by Chef Marthinus Ferreira, who now heads up Stellenbosch's Jordan Wine Estate restaurant] and I miss Ferreira's creations dearly. I’m currently very grateful for The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg [at Oxford Parks in Rosebank]. They take flavour seriously.

Where is your favourite spot to enjoy wine in the city?
From the koppie in Meyersdal Eco Estate. Seconded by The Terrace at Saxon Hotel, a great place to share a bottle of Epicurean with friends.

Where have you been for the first time recently that you would recommend?
[French-inspired] Liberté! The High Tea was so good that I told Laurice, the editor of Johannesburg In Your Pocket, all of my secrets [ed's note: can confirm!]. 
Excllent neighbours in Meyersdal. Photo: Tšepang Molisana via Instagram.

Selling property in Joburg – what's the most satisfying aspect of this?
Watching someone achieve their dream of home ownership in a wonderful city.

And what is frustrating?
A challenging macroeconomic environment and a stubbornly high interest rate.

What is a surprising thing people might learn about Joburg by having a conversation with you?
The zebras and giraffes in Meyersdal are excellent neighbours and a wonderful respite from the traffic in Bassonia. 
The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg takes flavour "seriously", according to Tšepang Molisana. Photo: Supplied.

Your favourite Joburg suburb, and why you choose it?
Meyersdal. It’s only 20 minutes from the City Centre, is close to the airport, and surprisingly not far from Sandton. It’s also close to Thaba Eco Hotel, Starbucks in Bassonia, and Lua Baker's Café's excellent coffee. It's lush, green, and good. With good leadership in the city, it [would be] an excellent vantage point for economic development.

What three things should a visitor not leave Joburg without seeing or experiencing?
One, Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG). Two, Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam. Three, Old Oak Restaurant at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

"[Designer] Thebe Magugu has the power and potential to give future generations a very good reason to speak of Johannesburg as a serious fashion capital."

If you could buy one Joburg building which would it be?
Natalspruit Hospital [a hospital in Katlehong that was demolished and decommissioned in 2014]. I believe it could be an excellent and much-needed mixed-use property precinct. It’s sad to see the road infrastructure crumbling around the old hospital, though. 

If you were the Joburg mayor for one day (average tenure) what would you change?
Open the Johannesburg Central Library and find a good anchor tenant for Park Station to make it a viable and attractive transport hub.

Favourite Joburg label, and why?
Thebe Magugu. Every city has their high fashion fixation. I believe Magugu has the power and potential to give future generations a very good reason to speak of Johannesburg as a serious fashion capital.
Tšepang Molisana would honour Jenny Crwys-Williams with the freedom of the city. Photo: Jenny Crwys-Williams via Instagram.

What makes someone a Joburger?
Their belief in overcoming and their dark sense of humour.

What do you love most about Joburg?
Its layers. From the minerals that still sparkle at its core, to how it wants to wash off its grime and give people hope and a place to love, be loved, and fall in love.

What do you least like about Joburg?
That it’s disrespected by people who pretend to lead it for a day or two, and that we survive the mess when we should demand more.

Your number-one tip for a first-time visitor to Joburg?
Plan to stay for longer. Make it a destination. Don’t leave until someone has invited you over for a braai.

"Don’t leave Joburg until someone has invited you over for a braai."

One Joburg personality whom you would honour with the freedom of the city if you could, and why? 
Jenny Crwys-Williams. I used to listen to her on the radio every day at lunchtime. Her voice is the sound of the pulse of people who are planning to achieve extraordinary things.

The perfect weekend in Joburg includes...
One, treat your parents at The Saxon's spa. Two, brunch at 44 Stanley with old friends. Three, wash your car in Katlehong, Thembisa, or Vosloorus. Four, Sunday lunch with your granny. Five, a walk at Modderfontein, Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, or any of our city's excellent parks and gardens.

Three words that describe this city.
Passionate. Mesmerising. Hopeful.

Check out some of our previous #MyJoburg interviews for more insights into the city:

#MyJoburg with Cathy Gatland, founder of Urban Sketchers Johannesburg
#MyJoburg with Ufrieda Ho, author and journalist
#MyJoburg with Sarah Barret of Joburg 360 Tours

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