#nextlevel brews

Meet Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, a scientist and entrepreneur dedicated to creating the perfect beer.

She’s the first black woman to become a shareholder in a microbrewery in South Africa – and the first black South African qualified to offer training to emerging brewers. And she’s keen to make science practical and fun for high school learners too.

‘I grew up in the Eastern Cape and my mother and grandmother brewed traditional sorghum beer, but the process didn’t interest me at the time,’ Apiwe says.

The young scientist’s fascination with biotechnology studies began in grade 11 after attending an open day at the University of Johannesburg. ‘The microbiology faculty displayed cheese, wine and beer – all products made through biotechnology study,’ Apiwe remembers. ‘I went on to complete a BSc degree in Microbiology at Wits University and a post-grad at the University of Pretoria.’

Apiwe then joined SAB through their graduate recruitment programme and completed a Diploma in Brewing and Master Brewer both from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling in London.

‘My interest in traditional brewing grew as I got more qualified in making clear beer and understanding that process,’ she explains. ‘I compared the two principles of brewing and it was quite interesting to observe that there is also a science within traditional beer making – even in the instructions my grandmother followed, which were passed on to her through the generations,’ adds Apiwe.

To encourage more young black women to enter the craft brewing industry, Apiwe offers science exhibitions to high schools and owns a business, Brewster’s Craft, offering training and consulting to emerging brewers.

Read more: How to start your own business.

Image: supplied