9 Iconic South African Brands | The Cape Grocer

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9 Iconic South African Brands

9 Iconic South African Brands

Local is lekker (lekker = nice )

And South Africa boasts a plethora of lekker South African brands, from famous actors to food. And it's easy to see why South African brands are so popular locally (aka South Africa) and abroad..... 

They bring fond memories of home, from dessert topped with ultramel custard aka The Christmas Trifle with a little KWV Brandy ,Mrs H.S Balls Chutney and All Gold tomato sauce....

Today we'll be sharing "9 Iconic South African Brands" ... 


1. SIMBA Chips


Simba Ghost Pops


The very first packet of Simba Chips was first launched in 1957.  Leon Greyvenstein decided to expand on the family business which included his Mom's (Ouma Greyvenstein - Ouma Rusks) much loved business. Since then no South African celebrations falls short of packet of Simba Chips.


2. Oros

The Oros brand was founded in 1899 by Charles Brookes, and family fun time changed forever. Although the idea of Oros immediately conjures up the distinctive orange taste, the first flavour in the range was actually Lemos. But South Africa spoke, their preference for orange was heard and “the original orange squash” was developed.

3. All Gold Tomatoe Sauce

All Gold, South Africa’s most iconic tomato sauce launched was launched in 1908, when the unique recipe was brought to South Africa by Scottish chemist, John Semble, for production by H. Jones and Company, a jam manufacturing company in Paarl. From humble beginnings in the Western Cape, this well-loved product was originally manufactured by lowering muslin bags filled with herbs and spices into pots of ripe, freshly crushed tomatoes.

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4. Chappies Bubble Gum 

Chappies is a brand of bubblegum introduced in South-Africa in the late 1940s. Chappies was created by Arthur Ginsburg while working for Chapelat, a Johannesburg based confectionery manufacturer, as a competitor for the well established Wicks bubblegum. The innovations of Arthur Ginsburg launched the Chappies brand into a position where the name Chappies became synonymous with the word bubblegum. The first innovation was the business model. While the Wicks branded gum was sold for 1c per piece, the smaller Chappies gum was sold at 1c for two pieces. This led to Chappies gaining value as currency as shopkeepers would give change in the form of gum. The second innovation was the inclusion of “Did you know” trivia on the inside of the wrappers, which were often collected by kids. The mascot is called Chappies Chipmunk.

5. Joko Tea


The master-blenders at Joko select only “One in a Thousand leaves” to provide that strong sip in every cup.   Joko understands that there is a lot to pack in a day.  Sometimes it is essential to take a step back, have a cup of Joko and find your inner strength. Joko Tea dates back to the 1890s and Frederick Glenton, in Johannesburg, who borrowed 1 000 pounds from his brother in Ireland to buy and market high quality Ceylon Tea. The wagon first used for distribution was drawn by two horses – Jo and Ko.




In every South African’s DNA there is an ability to ‘make a plan’. It was no different after the Great Depression, a group of Western Cape farming families got together to form the Langerberg Ko-operasie, rumoured to be where the name KOO comes from. In 1940 the Ko-operasie realised their dream of seeing their community uplifted, taking the humble, juicy seasonal peach and through innovation - the tin - and made it available all year around. This Ko-operasie were entrepreneurial, they thought differently and they did things differently, including launching their brand positioning of ‘sealed-in’ goodness when Marketing was still very much in its infancy.


The famous green Sunlight Soap bar was launched in South Africa in 1891.4 000 tons of Sunlight Soap was sold in the company's first year of trading. After 120 years the Sunlight name thrives as one of South Africa’s most trusted household brands, instantly recognized; instantly trusted; a worthy tribute to William Hesketh Lever’s vision.

8. Ouma Rusks

The Ouma legend lives on. The story of Ouma rusks started in 1939 in the small North-Eastern Cape town of Molteno. The great depression spurred Ouma Greyvensteyn and her friends to find ways of helping their community. Ouma Greyvensteyn started by baking a batch of rusks using her trusted family recipe. After selling these delicious treats to farming families in the community, orders soon started pouring in and a much loved, iconic South African brand was born.

Today, Ouma Greyvensteyn is still South Africa’s most famous rusk baker. The Ouma bakery runs around the clock to ensure that South Africans will always be able to “Dip ‘n Ouma”.

9. Mrs.H.S Balls


Mrs H.S Balls made Chutney for her family and friends they loved it so much that they started to 1918 Home Industries started selling her chutney. Sold about 24 bottles a day and grew to 8000 bottles today.

In 1921, family moved back to Cape Town and settled in Plumstead. Her husband mainly did the cooking. Her husband passed away in 1935 and Mrs. Ball continued making chutney

In the early 70's in Brooke Bond Oxo bought over the business, which was later sold to Unifoods.

Mrs Balls tragically died at the age of 97, assumed to be attacked by 3 youths that took money from her. 









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