The onset of the covid-19 pandemic led to the collapse of many businesses and rendered hundreds jobless. In spite of the challenges the pandemic posed to the business community and the danger of creating a new business, it didn’t deter South African entrepreneur Thando Makhubu from starting his ice cream business.
Makhubu was working a corporate job when he started a photography business on the side. He would later commit a chunk of his earnings to invest and grow his photography business, which later became his primary source of income.
However, when the pandemic hit and people’s movements were curtailed to contain the spread of the virus, business slowed down for him as people hardly organised events that will require his services.
As his regular income disappeared, Makhubu started thinking outside the box to find a new income-generating venture during the lockdown period. This led him to start his own ice cream business during South Africa’s initial hard lockdown.
He started Soweto Creamery in his mother’s house in Soweto. Today, he has employed four people in his ice cream business. The inspiration for his business was from images of the product he saw on Pinterest and thought he would give it a try in August 2020.
“The idea was not really thought out. I saw the ice cream on social media and wanted to try it out. If it worked it worked, if not then life goes on,” he told BasicIncomeToday.
Like many others, he was on a government COVID grant of roughly $23 a month and decided to use it to buy the ingredient which he experimented with with the help of his siblings and his mother. They shared photos of their creation and received orders from friends, family and even a local celebrity, Mohale Motaung.
“On the fourth of August, Mohale came with his friends. He bought some ice cream, posted us on his Instagram which has close to a million followers, and his other social media platforms,” he said.
“He advised us to create a Twitter account. I changed my photography Twitter account to Soweto Creamery and we went from 50 followers to about 6,000 in just a week. People started coming,” Makhubu added.
His business has since received national recognition after South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged Makhubu’s positive use of the grant during the state of the nation address.
“I’m really excited for Soweto Creamery. It makes me realise that if you are passionate about something and you are willing to work for it, it is possible,” Makhubu told News24.