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Covid-19 Grant Spurs Successful Business for Sowetan Entrepreneur

Making gourmet ice cream was never a business that photographer and fashion designer Thando Makhubu planned to pursue, but when coronavirus lockdowns hit South Africa and his regular work disappeared, he started thinking out of the box. “I was actually on an app called Pinterest, and I was just looking at food,” he said. “People who know me know that I really love food. And then I found myself looking at this ice cream, which was interestingly made. And I thought to myself, I’ve never seen anything like this in Soweto, so I’m like, can we just try it out?” Like many others, he was receiving a government COVID-19 unemployment grant of roughly $23 a month. He used it to buy ingredients, and he experimented with the help of his siblings and mother. They shared photos of their creations and received orders from friends, family and even a local celebrity. The Soweto Creamery was born, it is regularly packed on weekends and has since gained thousands of followers on social media. Last week, the business received nationwide recognition when President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged Makhubu’s innovative use of the grant during his state of the nation address.