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How well do you know your food mascots? Plus the connection between Simba Chips and Ouma Rusks that no one talks about

Do you know the stories behind the faces of your favourite South African foods?

by: Katy Rose | 05 Jul 2018
ouma rusks simba chips

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Representing some of South Africa’s most popular food products, these mascots have been a part of our lives since childhood. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, what are their stories and where did they come from? 

Represents: Simba Chips 
Full Name: His Majesty The King of Snacks, Simba the Lion
Catch phrase: Simba ROARRRS WITH FLAVOUR!
The story: Representing South Africa’s favourite chips since 1957, Simba is most famous for his very successful TV show of the late 1990s, Simba Surprise. His other achievements include the “I want to be a Simba chippie” campaign and the introduction of Tazo’s in the early 2000s. He takes full credit for the revival of Ghost Pops. He is distantly related to Ouma (see Ouma’s rusks). 

Represents: McDonald’s restaurants worldwide
Full Name: Mr. Ronald McDonald 
Catch phrase: None, just a creepy smile. 
The story: Ronald first appeared in television ads in 1963, selling hamburgers and “magic” to young children everywhere. His branded jumpsuit costume was so absurd that Ronald was given a makeover in 2014. Modelling his “New Look”of cargo trousers and blazer wasn’t enough to win over his critics, and there have been numerous calls for him to retire. His unnerving smile persists. 

The Nesquick Bunny
Represents: Nesquick Chocolate drinks and cereals 
Full Name: Quicky 
Catch phrase: “Blame it on the bunny!”
The story: Quicky has been a much loved South African animated character since at least the early 1990s. He is not to be confused with his relations from the US, Australia, France and Greece. He has fallen out of favour in recent years with his refusal to distance himself from plastic straws.  

Mrs. Ball’s
Full Name: Amelia Ball commonly known by her husband’s name, Mrs. Herbert Sandleton Ball
Catch phrase: None, iconic octagonal bottle. 
The story: Born in 1865, Amelia was the daughter of British immigrants (both of whom were very nearly killed in a shipwreck!). Upon her marriage to Herbert, she was given the covetted family chutney recipe. She opened her first factory in Diep River in 1917 and since then the company has grown exponentially. She has a close working relationship with His Majesty Simba the Lion, with whom she has created possibly the greatest Simba chip flavour ever, Fruit Chutney. 

Represents: Ouma Rusks 
Full Name: Elizabeth Ann Greyvenstyn 
Catch phrase: None needed. 
The story: Ouma started baking her eponymous rusks in 1939 in the small town of Molteno in the Eastern Cape. The rusks were nutritious, and kept well for a long time and were popular during the depression years. Her son Leon, travelled throughout South Africa and would later start the Simba Chip company in the 1950s. 

Frosties Tiger
Represents: Kelloggs Frosted Flakes
Full Name: Anthony Tiger
Catch phrase: They're grrrrreat!
The story: First appearing in 1952, Tony is one of the oldest food mascots. Tony is of Italian American descent, and during the 1970s he was a cultural icon among the Italian communities of the US. He has a large family (Mama Tiger) and two children, Antoinette and Tony Jnr. He has a long standing feud with Simba, who maintains that Africa is no place for a tiger. 

Read more on: food  |  south african food  |  food trends

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