Celebrating all things Rooibos on National Rooibos Day

On Monday, 16 January this year, South Africa celebrated its first-ever National Rooibos Day. To honour Rooibos as a regional and national asset, the people of Clanwilliam in the heart of the Rooibos region hosted a special event involving communities, companies, role players and media partners. Together, they turned this event into a fun-filled evening during which the Face of Rooibos 2017 was announced. Guests enjoyed Rooibos-inspired food and drinks, looked at displays of tea-planting machinery and equipment, and took part in a record-setting "Drink Rooibos Together" competition.

The organisation of the Clanwilliam event was a team effort led by Sanet Stander and Marietjie Smit, owners of the Rooibos Tea House and co-founders of the Rooibos Route.

Various role players in the Rooibos industry were invited - from local and international Rooibos trademark owners to Rooibos packaging companies and their employees, Rooibos producers and their employees, the Rooibos Council of South Africa, researchers, businesses, community leaders, tourism bodies, the media and all lovers of Rooibos.

The event was attended by Clanwilliam's mayor, Jimmy Barnard. The key speaker was Minister James Vos, Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Tourism.

The guests were also honoured by the presence of two descendants from two key figures in the history of the Rooibos industry: Jas Strauss and Bruce Ginsberg. Jas Strauss is the great grandson of Dr Pieter Le Fras Nortier who was hailed as the "the father of the Rooibos industry" as he helped to solve "the riddle of the germination of Rooibos". Another guest was Bruce Ginsberg, grandson of Benjamin Ginsberg, founder of the Rooibos industry. More than just a commercial pioneer, Benjamin Ginsberg also conducted experiments to refine the wild tea into a product of reliable quality. Today, Rooibos is still largely made to his original specifications. The date for National Rooibos Day was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Benjamin Ginsberg who was born in Moscow, Russia, on 16 January 1885.

The event took place at Augsburg Agricultural Gymnasium. It was organised as a not-for-profit event.

Finding the Face of Rooibos 2017
The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the Face of Rooibos. The aim of the award, sponsored by Rooibos Ltd, was to identify a person or group of people who had a close connection with the Rooibos region. Says Gerda de Wet, Communication Manager at Rooibos Ltd: "The uniqueness of this region lies in its Rooibos and Riel Dancing. That is why we chose the internationally acclaimed Riel Dance group called Die Nuwe Graskoue Trappers as the Face of Rooibos. By sharing their dancing with audiences all over the world, they keep this ancient form of dancing alive. What's more, they come from in and around Wupperthal in the Rooibos region. Through their appearances, they are helping to create increased awareness of this region. We believe that they are worthy ambassadors of Rooibos and that they will help to carry the message of this indigenous asset out into the world."

Getting a record number of Rooibos lovers to drink tea together
A total of 1 245 people gathered at the event to set a record for the most people enjoying Rooibos together in one place. The organisers wish to improve on this every year. Rooibos Tea House organised this event. The Rooibos for the event was sponsored by Rooibos Ltd and the Cape Natural Tea, Biedouw, Carmien and Ou Huis Rooibos brands.

Making the most of the media
Various main stream news agencies ran articles on South Africa's first National Rooibos Day on their online platforms and in their printed media.

Click here for an overview of the public relations coverage of Rooibos Day by, among others, Netwerk24, Maroela Media, Media Update, AgriOrbit, MYZA, MYCPT, MzanziFresh, Rooi Rose, Cape Town Tourism, Farming Portal and various social media platforms.

Various media partners helped to spread the word about National Rooibos Day. Social media partners Lumico used #rooibosday and #rooibosdag to get people talking. The National Rooibos Day Facebook page received 288 500 views, 19 000 engagements, 46 000 video views. The announcement of the Face of Rooibos generated 27 000 views within 60 hours. Local radio station Radio Namakwaland also came on board as a media partner.

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