Sobae Sorbet: A Frozen Joburg Love Story

by | Sep 24, 2019 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Johannesburg City Centre, Markets/Shopping | 8 comments

Today is Heritage Day, a holiday celebrating South Africa’s incredible cultural diversity. It’s also the unofficial start of summer and a day when South Africans celebrate their diversity by grilling meat. (Heritage Day has been rebranded by many as “Braai Day”.) I thought it would be a good day to tell you about Joburg’s best and most inspiring frozen dessert: Sobae sorbet.

Thato Masondo and Thula Ndema didn’t like seeing all the overripe fruit being discarded onto the street by Joburg’s downtown produce vendors. So after a few years of scheming and saving funds, Thula and Thato started Sobae Frozen, making sorbet from that overripe fruit and selling it on the streets of Braamfontein. Today, the couple makes and sells their sorbet at Victoria Yards and at pop-up events in the Wilds.

Thato Masondo (left) and Thula Ndema, the delightful masterminds behind Sobae Frozen.

Sobae Sorbet

Sobae is no ordinary sorbet, with basic flavors like lemon and strawberry and mango. Thato and Thula are master flavor magicians, whipping up exotic combinations like apple and pomegranate with cinnamon or butternut and banana with chai spice. Using very ripe fruit (and vegetables!) makes the sorbet taste particularly sweet without a lot of added sugar. All of Sobae’s ingredients are locally produced and in season.

This Sunday Times article tells the whole Sobae story so I won’t repeat it all here. I’ll just say Sobae’s sorbet is spectacular and quintessentially Joburgian.

Sobae apple-cinnamon-pomegranate sorbet at Victoria Yards
Apple-cinnamon-pomegranate sorbet, served up from Sobae’s stand at Victoria Yards.

I only met Thato and Thula for a few minutes but I loved everything about them. They obviously love each other and love what they do so much — hence the cute and clever name, So-Bae. I wanted to hug them both and buy all of their sorbet, but instead I kept my hands to myself and settled for one serving (the apple-cinnamon-pomegranate). It was fantastic.

I recently read that throwing away less food is one of the easiest and most effective ways for individuals to offset the effects climate change. So let’s all eat a lot more Sobae. They’ll be at the Wilds this Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Thato and Thula
I love these guys.

Follow Sobae on Facebook and Instagram. They also have a fantastic website.


  1. dizzylexa

    Such an inspirational couple and they fall in my favourite Joburg peoples list.

  2. AutumnAshbough

    It’s true, overripe fruit tastes better than ripe fruit as a baking ingredient. (Take banana bread!) I love the effective use of so-called garbage. 🙂

  3. Lani

    Adorable. Their love for each other shines through.

    • 2summers

      It really really does. They’re the best.

    • 2summers

      I think that’s definitely a word.


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