If your area had a flavour, what would it be? No need to think too hard about it because a local entrepreneur has given eight areas in Mitchell’s Plain their own signature gourmet ice cream flavours.
Rocklands resident and entrepreneur Iegshaan Small, 33, wants to give his home town a positive spin with his ice cream called “vanni Plain”.
Rather than being labelled a specific flavour, each tub of ice cream is named for an area in Mitchell’s Plain, like Westridge, Eastridge, Woodlands, Rocklands, Tafelsig, Beacon Valley, Portland and Lentegeur.
“I wanted to prove that something good can come out of Mitchell’s Plain,” he said.
The ice-cream entrepreneur only decided to become a chef less than two years ago when, he says, he realised his life has a purpose and he found the courage to live a full life again.
In 2013 he slipped into depression after he and his wife, with whom he shares a daughter, divorced.
In his lifetime, Iegshaan has been dealt a few heavy blows, including being displaced when his parents divorced when he was 8 years old, later being put out of his father’s home when he dropped out of school, and then moving in with a neighbour where he lived until he turned 21.
“The uncle was living on his own and he took me probably to protect his house and I took care of him,” he said.
Explaining why he didn’t go back to his father’s home, he said: “I never went back to school due to gangsterism” – not because he was a gang member, but because he had been held at gunpoint and told to say what gang he belonged to.
“I would never belong to a gang. My parents used to tell me if I belonged to a gang they would shoot me themselves. So, I told the gangster jy kan ma skiet want my ouers sê hulle sal myself skiet as ek ‘* gangster is.
“I would rather you pull the trigger than them,” he said.
Iegshaan said Mitchell’s Plain was often associated with gangsterism, substance abuse and the youth were “fascinated” with this negative lifestyle.
“I decided I am still young and I am not going to be part of the (crime) statistics,” he said.
He was battling to pay his fees at a private education institution where he was studying to be a chef, when the South African National Zakaah Fund (SANZAF) paid for an additional three months of the course and helped him access a loan from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
This he used to enroll in a hospitality course at the College of Cape Town where, with the odds stacked against him, he had to motivate why he had to be accepted into the programme. “I had to convince the head of department that if she gives me a chance I will be at the top of her class in every subject,” he said.
That seemed to do the trick.
Now Iegshaan manufactures his ice cream, inspired by a recipe he found online, at home or at the college kitchen.
“I asked my family, friends and took samples to people randomly on the beaches, and asked them whether they would buy after tasting my and another company’s ice cream.
“Their responses were totally amazing and I realised I am sitting on something big but I needed help to get things off the ground,” he said.
Iegshaan has reached out to various business people and companies to sponsor his project and has formed a co-operative – a business undertaken by a group of people who work together to achieve their aims – FAFTI. The name represents the initials for each of the members, one of whom would like to remain a silent partner.
Their trades include hairdressing, building contracts, catering and courier services.
He caters events and ploughs money into making ice cream.
His friend, Mika-eel Moerat, 19, from Lentegeur, an art and design student at the same college, designed the label.
“I had an idea for the logo. I had the software to complete the design, with the right colours and different shades for the different flavours,” he said.
“The logo includes an ice cream cone on top of Table Mountain, with streams of melting cream running down its front,” he said.
For more information, call Iegshaan on 064 421 8961.