Meghan Markle melts the hearts of young couple as she tastes their sorbet

02 October 2019 - 12:23 By sanet oberholzer and Alex patrick
Thula Ndema and Thato Masondo in front of a sign advertising their thriving sorbet business, Sobae Frozen.
Thula Ndema and Thato Masondo in front of a sign advertising their thriving sorbet business, Sobae Frozen.
Image: Alaister Russell

When Thula Ndema and Thato Masondo started Sorbae Frozen with the bare basics of a freezer, a blender and a cooler box, it never even crossed their minds that their dessert business would one day get a shout-out on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's official Instagram account.

But that's exactly what happened after Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sampled their icy treats when she made a solo visit to Victoria Yards in Johannesburg on Monday.

There was a VIP Market set up for the duchess to meet the entrepreneurs who run their businesses from the vibey development in Lorentzville.

“We were told a VIP was coming, but we weren't told who it was," said Masondo.

The young couple said they were nervous but very excited when they realised it was Meghan.

"We wanted to everything prefect for her."

Ndema and Masondo started their small company in 2017 as a way to tackle food waste after they'd noticed piles of over-ripe fruit and vegetables being discarded by hawkers on the pavements of the Joburg CBD.

"We hated that fruit was being wasted,” Ndema told the Sunday Times.

They initially sold their products from a cooler box outside the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein.

"We couldn’t afford to pay to be at the actual market so we sold on the street. Security guards were constantly chasing us away," Masondo said.

But customers started lining up and local businesses asked them to sell in their store fronts to attract foot traffic.

Then in December last year, they were invited to set up shop at Victoria Yards.

As for the name Sorbae - a play on the endearment "bae" (before anyone else) - Ndema said it was inspired by his and Masondo's relationship.

"Love sells the product."

It was their company's sweet name that first caught the duchess's attention as she made her way to their stand where she sampled a few of their sorbets.

"When we saw her for the first time she was so graceful," said Ndema.

The pair thought she was a very patient lady because she took the time to speak to each vendor about their product and their mission.

The duchess wished us luck and said we had a great product. Her favourite flavour was pumpkin Chai spice - she thinks it's original
Thula Ndema and Thato Masondo of Sorbae Frozen

"She was friendly and open with us and wanted to hear our story. We spoke about our mission and how we want to be a company that employs more people. The duchess seemed to related to our mission.

"She wished us luck and said we had a great product. Her favourite flavour was pumpkin Chai spice - she thinks it's original".

Speaking of receiving royal recognition on Instagram for their sorbets, Masondo said, "Working so hard and getting to places like this actually makes your business connect with so many people.

"Hopefully we'll be able to serve our sorbet at the palace one day, or maybe the duchess will come back and have a bae-date with the prince," she joked.


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