Water is the element we’re mostly made of. It sustains us and drives our very zest for life. Which is why maverick spirits Maps Maponyane and Zandile Ndhlovu were approached by Glenfiddich to highlight water scarcity and what to do about it. 

Following a snorkeling trip in Bali in 2016, Zandile discovered an Instagram profile of three female freedivers, sparking her interest in the sport. Soon, she went on a course and was hooked! Zandile’s vitality and purity of purpose made her a natural champion for water.

“When you talk about the maverick spirit, I think it’s such an honor” she exclaims, “to recognise that collectively we want to save our oceans, we want to do better for our natural world, and water security is such an important topic that I don’t think we’re talking enough about.

“This maverick challenge speaks to all the things that matter in my heart, but also ultimately in the world,” she explains. This modern mermaid returned from the ocean depths for a rather important event. We joined her and Maps as they presented their films at the Glenfiddich Challengers Club Auction in Johannesburg.

“My task as a part of the Challenges Club was to go and discover water that is untouched by man and I traveled around 16,000 kilometers to the end of Iceland, to the biggest glacier in Europe,” explains Maps.

“I was tasked to go and bring that water back, but also show the mission and struggle to get there, and how much of a challenge it was to try and retrieve this water,” he says, “so essentially, highlight how many people are struggling out there to get fresh, clean water.”

“Hopefully, if we conserve our water, if we take the right steps, then people just need to walk a couple of steps to get the best fresh, clean water and won’t have to travel halfway across the world in order to do so,” he explains. How every sip is to be savoured is an idea Glenfiddich Ambassador Jézz Tibini is down with.

“In most cases, people think that whiskey is not a mix of the spirit,” he says, “now, when it comes to Glenfiddich, the 12 year old is a beautiful, aromatic, everyday type of whiskey, its characters from pear notes and those vanilla and citrusy notes actually brings out a whiskey that is for an everyday type of occasion.” And when it comes to whiskey, nothing is sweeter than water.

“Water is the foundation of how we do our whiskeys, from the Ruby Springs into the final product itself,” Jezz explains, “we’ve seen how the scarcity of water has been a major problem within our country itself.”

“We want to focus on water in terms of how we actually bring it back to the people…what we’ve done as a brand is that we’ve raised funds in order to be part of the solution,” he says. For two decades, key work has been done on water stewardship in South Africa by The World Wildlife Fund.

“WWF are really excited about the partnership that we have with Glenfiddich,” exclaims Michelle Govender, Head of Individual Fundraising at WWF, “South Africa is an extremely water scarce country, so the partnership here goes directly to help the communities in the Central Drakensberg and in the Eastern Cape.” 

For Glenfiddich, the partnership with WWF was a source of pride, as explained by Marketing Portfolio Manager, Kelly Johnson.

“The partnership with WWF was really a strategic alignment due to the fact that they focus on three strategic pillars, which is, ocean, water and climate,” she says, “it felt like a really natural fit because they are a global organization and we are a global brand, but also they have a platform that’s already in existence and our initiative, which is called Clean Water for Life, really allowed us to support them quite naturally.”

Rare Glenfiddich whiskeys were auctioned in casings incorporating recycled ocean plastic and untouched Icelandic water. For the Maverick team, they’ve had a great time doing good and spreading a message about something we can’t take for granted.

Having a purpose which drives you and the spirit to see it through is [surely] the definition of a zest for life.

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