5 Proudly South African Brands That Built a Global Following

Updated on 26 May 2017

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5 Proudly South African Brands That Built a Global Following


From brands like SAB Miller, to personalities like DJ Black Coffee, there are plenty of reasons to be proudly South African, despite the challenges the country faces.

South Africans love their local brands. The Icon Brand survey by Ask Africa, a market research company, revealed that local brands resonate strongly with South African consumers because they give them a sense of belonging and trust.

And it’s not only South Africans who feel a strong connection with local brands. Globally, South African brands are becoming recognised for their quality, innovation and very specific South African influence.

Here are our selection of 5 well-known brands and the moment each of them made us proud. 


Nando’s is South Africa’s biggest restaurant export.
Image credit: Nando’s logo
Nando’s is a peri-peri chicken franchise best known for their satirical and comedic advertising campaigns.

Launched in 1987 by Fernando Duarte and Robert BrozinNando’s is arguably one of South Africa’s biggest and most successful restaurant exports, having expanded to more than 30 countries so far including the US, UK, India, Portugal, and more than 1000 outlets worldwide, with head quarters in Porto, Portugal, and London, UK.


The restaurant chain has also taken their comedic ad campaigns global, poking fun at politicians like US President Donald Trump with their #EveryoneisWelcome campaign, launched ahead of his inauguration in January this year.


Rooibos teas around the world. The Rooibos plant has become synonymous with South Africa. The plant is used in everything from hot tea, iced tea, cappuccinos to beauty and health-related products, and is well-known for its health properties.

The plant grows in South Africa’s fynbos, and is used commonly as a tea. Khoisans have used the leaves for centuries in the Cederberg region of South Africa, and the usage nearly ended with them until it was rediscovered by a botanist named Carl Humberg and interest in the tea was revived.

Rooibos tea has become a popular choice among a variety of herbal teas around the world. According to a report on the South African Rooibos tea market value chain, South Africa is the only exporter of Rooibos tea in Africa and exports approximately more than 6000 tons per year.

Rooibos tea is exported to more than 30 countries across the globe, including the UK, Australia, and the US.

The South African tea is even sold by one of the biggest US retailers, Walmart, and is one of the few truly South African products to be sold by the major retailer.


South Africa’s leading beer brewer, SAB Miller.
The South African Breweries, or SAB Miller, is also flying the South African Brand flag high as the nation’s leading brewer and is one of the longest standing and most recognizable companies in the country. The beer brewer was founded in 1895 and was the first industrial company to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

SAB Miller’s claim to fame hasn’t been one single moment but has over its 122 history grown as a locally and internationally trusted brand.

In the 1970’s SAB made history by becoming the first South African corporate to instigate affirmative action and preferential procurement.

The 1990s was a profitable decade for SAB which celebrated 100 years with a market capitalisation of R30 billion and a record R10 billion in added value for the South African economy. The company also began expanding to other parts of the world, including the UK and the US, and in 1996 became one of the world’s top brewing-based organisations, a position it has maintained to this day.

Apart from their local and global success as a beer brewer, the brand has been lauded for its CSI initiatives – as a sponsor for various corporate social responsibility and economic empowering programmes, for example, the Tholoana Enterprise Programme and SAB Kickstarter Programme, both which work to develop and support South African entrepreneurs.

Special Mention Goes To: 


DJ Black Coffee and Deputy Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at Phefeni Secondary School in Soweto.
Image credit: Flickr/DJ Black Coffee
Black Coffee is an award-winning DJ and record producer who has released five albums since launching his career in 1994.

His first big break came in 2003 when he was chosen to participate in the Red Bull Music Academy, a world-traveling series of music workshops and festivals held in Cape Town. Since then he has become internationally recognised, having toured and performed in countries like Australia, Nigeria, the US, Brazil, Angola and Greece among others.

In 2012, Black Coffee released his much-anticipated DVD and CD, Africa Rising, which sold double platinum in the space of a month, and later won the award for Best Dance Album at the 2013 South African Music Awards.

Zone. ✈️ Nigeria Lagos tonight. #onemanband #Godsveryown

A post shared by Black Coffee (@realblackcoffee) on 

His profile has continued to grow internationally. He has performed at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including the 2016 Ultra Music Festival and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

DJ Black Coffee also boasts a list of international accolades, including the 2016 BET Award for Best International Act: Africa, 2015 Breakthrough DJ Of The Year award at the DJ Awards in Ibiza, and various SAMA awards, and 2016 BET Award for Best International Act: Africa, making history as the first South African to win a BET award, and trumping fellow South African nominees, AKA and Casper Nyovest.

Most recently Black Coffee has also been in high demand to collaborate with international names, including US musicians Drake and Alicia Keys.


Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.
Image credit: 
Instagram/Trevor Noah 
Trevor Noah is the South African funnyman who has captivated audiences with his national and international comedy shows.

Born and raised in Soweto, Noah started out as an actor and standup comedian.

Noah has performed for both local and international audiences. In 2012, he made his debut in the US performing his one-man comedy show Trevor Noah: The Racist, based on his similarly titled South African special That’s Racist.

It wasn’t long before Hollywood came calling – the comedian in 2012 first appeared on the Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman.


His appearances on TV shows earned him a position at the Emmy award-winning television show The Daily Show in September 2014 as a contributor and four months later, he was asked to take over from former host, Jon Stewart. Noah has been hosting the show since September 2015, which reached a spike in viewership the last few months, attracting over 1.5 million viewers in February, 17 percent from the year before.

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