I’ve lost a large amount of money during lockdown – Khanyi Mbau

Celebrities have also felt the severe financial impact of the pandemic.

Although the country currently sits at alert Level 2, there is a fear that if alcohol is abused as previously reported, the country will return to the previous ban.

As an owner of an alcohol brand, Khanyi Mbau has been vocal about how the ban had a severe impact on her pocket.

Khanyi is part of the Save our Livelihoods campaign, an initiative through SAB established when alcohol sales were prohibited during the previous lockdown levels.

The ban has resulted in many businesses bearing the financial brunt.

A study, published on 15 July, found that 2.9 million people who were in employment in February this year have lost their jobs since lockdown began. The study claims that over 100,000 of these jobs were shed in the alcohol industry and many SMMEs have stated they won’t be able to recover from the severe side-effects of the pandemic.

One such business is Khanyi’s gin brand I AM Khanyi Millenial Shimmer Gin, launched in 2018.

“It’s become extremely difficult and has affected my pockets deeply,” she says.

Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that the distiller who makes the gin needs to be paid, as well as paying for rental space on the shelves at the stores.

“Alcohol has a rental, even when the shops are closed, we have to pay for that space, meaning I’ve had to continue paying for space through these months yet  I wasn’t selling any merchandise.”

Further payments include transportation of alcohol to the distributors. Her brand is sold on online portals and at selected bottle stores.

On the surface, it appears that with jam-packed bottle store queues and people stockpiling alcohol, recovery for any alcohol producer should be business as usual but this isn’t the case.

Wages received over the past month might not even be enough to fill the void left by the previous months of lockdown that placed many forms of economic activities to a halt, with the exemption of essential services.

“This is money that is necessary for both me and my daughter, there is no recovery this year, it’s big. All a loss,” Khanyi remarks.

Khanyi states that she’s lucky enough to have saved but recognises that there are plenty of South Africans who don’t. Being a celebrity who’s trying to branch out into other industries opens her to plenty of criticism.

“The standard response when a celebrity’s product doesn’t sell or goes through a tough time many people will say ‘bathanda izonto‘ (They like things). Sadly this isn’t the truth just like other people we are trying to support our families thorough other means.

“The TV and film industry was also at a standstill during lockdown and filming new shows has been halted, so we literally have no income.”

She has over the past months attempted to make money with other endorsements and marketing strategies.

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