Sarah Britten
Sarah Britten

Which South African brands deserve their own day?

It’s World Nutella Day. Yes, really. (It’s all over Twitter, so it must be true.) I don’t know who comes up with these days marking things, or why hazelnut chocolate spread is deserving of commemoration, but there you go.

I first encountered Nutella at Bryanston Primary in the 1980s, when the tuck-shop sold little plastic bakkies of the stuff, complete with tiny plastic trowel. My mother would never dream of buying a jar — such extravagance! — so we made do with these little tastes of heaven.

The fact that French children eat Nutella for breakfast is about the clearest evidence I can cite for the decadence of modern Europe.

What other brands should get their own day? Marmite, Black Cat Peanut Butter, NyQuil and Milo were all suggestions when I asked the question on Twitter. I got to thinking about which truly iconic South African products deserve their own day, and came up with this list:


Oros. I can’t speak from personal experience, because as a child, one sip was enough to trigger an asthma attack severe enough to send me to the emergency room. (The sulphur dioxide used as a preservative in Oros is very dangerous for asthmatics.)

Rusks. Not a brand, but I firmly believe that rusks deserve their own day. There’s nothing more South African than a rusk, not even a braai, and that gets its own day so it’s hardly fair. Who among us has not suffered a third-degree finger burn from losing a rusk in hot coffee and trying to fish it out? Biscotti are just rusks with ideas above their station.

Marie biscuits. Ditto — not a brand, but an institution.

mrs balls

Mrs Ball’s Chutney. Obviously. Tiger Brands love Mrs Balls so much they paid R475 million for the brand late last year.


Ultra Mel. Another brand I grew up with. Ultra Mel and tinned peaches were happiness personified when I was six years old. The izikhothane would approve.

Aromat. An import, but South Africa has made it our own. Not eating Aromat because it’s bad for you is a vile white practice.

Ace Mealie Meal. Apparently eating pap is a suitable expression of one’s Africanness, even though maize is an import via Mexico.


Amarula. Now here’s one South African brand that could get a world day before long. It’s the seventh most requested liqueur worldwide and continues to show double-digit growth.

If you could vote, which brand would get its own completely meaningless day?

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  • Lennon

    Castle; MTN; Capitec and, above all, SASOL.

  • Freddy Hirsch

    Kameelhout Boerewors certainly is an iconic South African brand that should have its own day in the sun – on a braai alongside some other braai favourites like braai broodjies. :)


    Biltong of any kind/brand deserves a national holiday…and rooibos, just ask the expats…
    Koo fruit and jams also…Wilson toffies…Chappies and Jelly Tots…Simba chips…uhmm…excuse me I’m off to the tuck shop…

  • ‘whiteness’

    Aromat, definately Aromat should have its own meaningless day because “Not eating Aromat because it’s bad for you is a vile white practice.”


  • GrahamJ

    The ANC is the most loved brand. That little logo can get most voters into a tizz that leaves them helpless and unable to think.

    And the stuff in Oros that sent you (and me) into an asthma attack is more likely to be tartrazine.

    I avoid it like the plague.

  • PM

    Ceres fruit juices? clearly successful internationally, but is it loved locally?

    What about wines? Meerlust Rubicon? Kanonkop Pinotage?

    Mainstay Cane?

  • Stephen

    Been living in Germany for many years. As SA is part of the territory I look after for the multinational I work for, I get the opportunity to visit regularly. Great opportunities to top up on life’s essentials like Joko, Mrs Balls (one can get it here but eish! its expensive), Royco sauces, fish paste and of course biltong.

    In Germany you can buy Nederburg (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc) for R49/bottle. Last I checked they cost ~R77 in JHB. So this is good.

    Amarula is very big in Europe – I read somewhere something like 500k cases are imported every year into Europe. But easily available here.

    Interesting that over the years SA generally has become more expensive than Germany, parity wise. Sad.

  • Jens Bierbrauer

    Which other brands deserve their own day? I think the Marmite and Sarah Britten brands are most deserving. :-)

  • The Naked Worker

    Organic vegetables and renewable energy, brands for the future, to prevent the sixth major extinction of life on planet earth.

  • Marc

    “What other brands should get their own day? Marmite, Black Cat Peanut Butter, NyQuil and Milo were all suggestions when I asked the question on Twitter.”

    It is not clear from your blog, but are you suggesting that these products are South African? Of course, Marmite, NyQuil and Milo are not.

    And what is it about South Africans thinking that “braaing” is peculiarly South African?

  • Forthefunofit

    All Gold Tomato sauce. Hardly anything was without it when I was a kid.

  • Mr. Direct

    Nandos for sure…

    Maybe Rajah’s Curry Powder?

    I do not agree with Simba, there are far better elsewhere in the world…

  • Joe Soap

    OMO washing powder. Makes the whites whiter and the colors brighter.

  • DeeGee


  • Percipient

    cANCer Criminality Lager Lite

    (with their infamous pay-off line) “Why? – ‘coz we can…”

  • Mandrake

    after my long exile from TL i find this refreshing. im a OROS addicted and still unashamedly so.

    “The sulphur dioxide used as a preservative in Oros is very dangerous for asthmatics”

    However i havent seen any direct link to asthma from my addiction. i wonder why it doesn’t affect me? i’ve been a chronic asthmatic from the age of 3. im now 31

  • Sarah Britten

    Mandrake, you’re one of the lucky ones. SO2 is a common allergen for asthma:

    Being allergic to it makes ordering fruit juices in restaurants tricky – most are laced with the stuff as well as sodium benzoate.

  • BillyC

    Sarah and Mandrake; Nano grams of sulphite will send me into a life threatening asthma attack, but its not confined to cheap cordials and dairy juices (carton juice like Ceres and Liquifruit is OK) but lurks in most wines, beer and dried fruit

  • Sharon K

    Iyo, OROS is it!

  • pat bam

    How about the Pelargonium? Been decorating gardens around the world for over 400 years! Not exactly a brand but if the French can claim that only they can make Champaign we should be claiming royalties on all their pretty window boxes.