The small-scale producers of Wupperthal reside in a historic mission outpost at the geographical origin for Rooibos tea. Drawing from their experience, this article identifies three features of sustainable heritage development: legacy, enterprise, and resilience. First, I document the formation of Wupperthal and its tradition of artisanal production. Second, I show how farmers have sought to diversify enterprise by investing in fair trade and organic tea certifications, ecotourism, and the production of handcrafted goods. Third, I demonstrate the centrality of ecological and cultural values to the resilience of Wupperthal's mixed race 'coloured' population. These findings affirm coloured claims to Rooibos terroir, challenging a discourse that either equates heritage with idealized notions of indigeneity or that fails to recognize marginalized interests. I conclude by arguing that sustainable heritage development offers potential for reducing economic vulnerability and embracing racial diversity in postcolonial terroirs like Rooibos, but note the need for coordinated certification assistance as well as a commitment to the restorative justice principles embedded in South Africa's heritage agenda.
- Fair trade
- Sustainable development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science