• Thundering smoke

    Thundering smoke

    Local production of Zimbabwe’s first hand-rolled cigars has begun.

    Since March, a small, all-women team has been undergoing on-the-job training in rolling cigars, with each member producing 256 cigars a day, says Shep Mafundikwa, CEO of Mosi-Oa-Tunya Cigars, adding that the company’s daily target is 2 000 units, as reported by Eyewitness News.

    Mafundikwa told Reuters that the company has plans for international export, once COVID-related restrictions are eased, adding that ‘we have solid interest right now from Romania and from Vietnam and we have inquiries from Dubai’.

    Mosi-Oa-Tunya – which means the ‘smoke that thunders’, a reference to Victoria Falls – was launched in May.

    Zimbabwe produced more than 252 million kg of tobacco during 2019, making it the sixth-largest tobacco producer in the world and the biggest in Africa.

    Nearly all of Zimbabwe’s locally produced tobacco in 2019 was ‘golden-leaf’ Virginia, typically used for cigarettes and mostly exported to China, Germany and other global markets. However, the local cigar will be rolled from air-cured Burley tobacco, also produced by Zimbabwe but in smaller quantities.

    21 July 2020
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images