"Finding water untouched by man meant literally going to the edge of the world" - Maps Maponyane

Glenfiddich partners with creative entrepreneur Maps Maponyane

Glenfiddich, on Thursday, 28 July, announced the launch of the third edition of its Challengers Club. This edition sees the brand partnering with creative entrepreneur Maps Maponyane and freediving instructor Zandile Ndhlovu.

The announcement was made at a black-tie auction and gala dinner, when 11 of the rarest Glenfiddich expressions were auctioned and all proceeds are going towards funding one of the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) high impact water conservation initiatives in the country.

The Challenger’s Club is a movement of change makers who are passionate about South Africa’s potential and are connecting and collaborating to facilitate solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing challenges. Glenfiddich has partnered with social change maker Maps Maponyane, who is also a World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Board Member, and Zandile Ndhlovu, South Africa’s first black Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) freediving instructor, whose aim is to help raise awareness around the problem of water scarcity in South Africa and to ensure that quality water is accessible to all.

Maponyane and Ndhlovu, who both care deeply about water security in South Africa, each undertook an epic personal challenge to fulfil their ambitions of a country with cleaner drinking and ocean water. Follow the journey here: www.challengersclub.co.za

For his daring sojourn into the unknown, Maponyane travelled to Iceland, where winter temperatures can drop as low as -10 degrees Celsius, in search of water untouched by man and therefore completely free of microplastics. He brought back this rare specimen of the most precious commodity on earth as a souvenir to raise awareness around water security.

“Finding water untouched by man meant literally going to the edge of the world – an incredibly difficult trek. The irony of it all is that if we keep polluting our water, finding the best quality will someday no longer be an adventure to write home about, because polluted water will be a way of life. Something I truly believe no South African or anybody in fact should have to experience,”

says Maponyane.

In her bid to raise awareness around microplastics in our oceans, Ndhlovu braved the crushing pressure and muscle numbing cold temperatures that are synonymous with deep sea diving to clear the ocean floor of plastic.

“Diving for me is a beautiful escape and a deep passion of mine. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to partner with Glenfiddich, especially for such a great cause, I didn’t think twice. I’d love for everyone to someday experience it but the sight of the bottom of the sea is no enchanted aquatic scene. The pollution is rife and unmissable. We honestly should all be doing more to conserve this precious resource,”

says Ndhlovu.

The two maverick’s challenges and the live auction that was held last night will culminated in 50 of the rarest Glenfiddich expressions from across time and place being auctioned exclusively in South Africa with an important story to tell. Each auctioned bottle’s casing is made partially from the recycled plastic cleared from the ocean floor by Ndhlovu, and inside it is a small bottle of Maponyane’s glacier water collected in Iceland as well as a rare bottle of beautifully crafted and delicately balanced Glenfiddich.

At the auction and gala dinner, R137 500 was raised which will go towards water sustainability initiatives, endorsed by World Wild Fund. 

All proceeds from the live auction and the digital vault hosted on www.challengersclub.co.zawill go towards supporting a community water project in the Eastern Cape province working with WWF South Africa, whose key pillars speak directly to the campaign narrative – Water, Oceans and Climate Change which forms part of Glenfiddich’s initiative, Glenfiddich Water for Life. 

According to WWF, South Africa is one of the 30 most water scarce countries globally, climate change impacts include more erratic rainfall and flooding events.  At the same time, we are still facing drought conditions in many parts of the country at present, with many households directly impacted. In its report, WWF further reveals that water demand is expected to exceed supply in South Africa by 17 percent by 2030. 

For households, crucial industries like agriculture, companies, and brands like Glenfiddich, having assurance of enough water, at the right quality, time and cost is vital for operations. This year, Glenfiddich is shining a light on how it enacts real change towards water security in South Africa through this important cause that needs immediate action – water conservation.

“This partnership is such a great way to further celebrate a decade of the Journey of Water for us as the WWF. As we continually strive to spread the message that “water doesn’t come from a tap” our goal has remained the empowerment of our communities to help conserve water for a better tomorrow. Water is crucial to our livelihoods, the economy and biodiversity, and to have brands like Glenfiddich helping to shine the light on such issues truly does go a long way,”

says Justin Smith, Head of the Business Development Unit, WWF-South Africa 

“Being changemakers is part of Glenfiddich’s legacy,”

says Kelly Johnson, Portfolio Manager for William Grant & Sons.

“We understand that when people come together great things happen. This is not a gimmick for us, but a commitment to do our part for mother nature. These bottles are beyond just collectors’ items, they are conversation starters that will go on to encourage actionable change anywhere they are found.”

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