Born and raised in Stellenbosch, Vusi Mokoena is the youngest of five children. In his community, Rooibos tea is not just a beverage; it is a beloved tradition passed down from generation to generation, from his grandmother to his mother, and now to Vusi.

Vusi’s journey into the world of Rooibos tea is heartwarming. Curious by nature, he wanted to find out how people in his community preferred to drink their Rooibos. He discovered a preference for a stronger brew than that which was available on the market. He also sensed that there was a disconnect between the way Rooibos was traditionally marketed and how it was viewed by, to use his words, “regular people”. Feeling inspired, Vusi knew he had discovered his calling: To introduce a premium Rooibos tea to his diverse community. He named it “Mavusana”, which means ‘awakening’.

Mavusana Premium Rooibos Tea was first introduced to the community of Kayamandi through door-to-door sales. It was a simple, yet effective strategy. Vusi and his team experimented with various ideas, and people loved what they had to offer. He reached a significant milestone in his business journey when a childhood friend, Samkela Hlakaza, recommended a graphic designer to help them create a special brand identity.

The Nedbank-funded Ranyaka Building Business Programme has played a pivotal role in the unfolding story of Vusi and Mavusana. The programme provided him with personal growth skills such as resilience, leadership, and time management that helped him create and implement solid business strategies.

Vusi’s vision is to make Mavusana a household name in Stellenbosch before expanding to other parts of the country. He hopes to increase his reach in the community through collaboration with catering companies and local artists. Vusi’s tea is currently offered in various formats to cater to the diverse needs of the town of Stellenbosch. These include individually wrapped tea bags, strikingly branded boxes of premium, loose tea, and a catering pack. Eventually, he would like to introduce new Rooibos flavours, especially for children, pregnant women, and athletes. He is also exploring other Rooibos-infused products that include soaps and beauty products, and is also looking to launch an iced tea line.

When asked if he had a few words of inspiration to share with fellow small business owners, Vusi stressed the value of managing money wisely and being open to asking for help when needed. His advice is simple yet meaningful: “Just start. The more you plan, the more you delay. Start, and the rest will fall into place.”

Vusi’s love for Mavusana Rooibos tea is about more than the actual tea; it is about the connections it creates between people from diverse cultures and traditions worldwide. It gives him joy to interact with groups of individuals from all walks of life daily, creating a sense of unity and shared experience over a humble cup of tea.

Mavusana Rooibos represents community strength, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to preserving traditions. Vusi Mokoena and his team at Mavusana are reviving an age-old tradition, bringing joy to people’s hearts and taste buds, one cup at a time.

Images: Sonya Olivier