An elated Dawid Rooifontein, right, with his mentor Pieter Loubser, on hearing that he had won the International Category at the 2023 UK National Honey Show.
A young beekeeper from the Cape West Coast has clinched a top award at one of the world’s leading honey shows. Dawid Rooifontein of St Helena Bay came first in the international honey category at the United Kingdom’s National Honey Show, held on 27 and 28 October 2023.
His winning honey was a light, perfumed orange honey, produced by his bees located in orchards in the Citrusdal area.
It’s the first time South African beekeepers – all from the Western Cape – have taken part in this top beekeeping competition, which celebrated its centenary this year. Entries poured in from across the British Isles and elsewhere in the world.
Rooifontein, who hails from Upington and has a farming background, became a beekeeper three-and-a-half years ago when he was barely 20. He was taken under the wing of a well- known West Coast commercial beekeeper, Pieter Loubser, who trained him in all aspects of beekeeping.
His beekeeping talent first caught the eye of the judges at the Western Cape Beekeeping Industry Association’s recent honey show during the NAMPO agricultural expo in Bredsadorp, where he received the award for top development beekeeper.
Another Western Cape beekeeper, Audrey De Jongh of Cape Town, came third in the UK competition’s international category. De Jongh’s entry was a complex natural blend of eucalyptus and fynbos honey.
Pieter Loubser, Rooifontein’s mentor, was very highly commended for a rare honey varietal made from the nectar of rooibos tea plants, while his Renosterveld-sourced honey was given a commendation.
Roxanne Norris of Cape Town received a commendation for her citrus honey and Achmat Kazie of Somerset West was commended for his display of honey and beeswax products.
Chris Nicklin, chairman of the WCBA, says “we are actively encouraging our member beekeepers to show off the dazzling array of honeys we produce here in the Western Cape”.
He adds “The results from the UK national honey show demonstrate the exceptional quality of our honey – and it’s hoped we’ll soon be able to share it with honey-lovers all over world“.
Current regulations prevent the legal export of South African honey but efforts are being made to try to change this.