Known as ‘Yococo’, and born out of a desire to be her own boss, this 24-year-old has found the perfect recipe to living consciously – and profitably so!
Sinenhlanhla Busisiwe Ndlela was born in a village in the Drakensberg to teenaged parents; “I was raised by gogo in Qwa-Qwa and studied TV writing and Post Production in Cape Town”.
Like many, ‘Sine’ migrated to the city of gold (Johannesburg) in 2016 with ‘big dreams’ of working in TV, writing scripts or being part of a film crew. Her dream was fulfilled, but she quickly realised her heart and philosophy on life was leading her elsewhere;
“I was doing a lot of soul-searching at the time and veganism was something I was also transitioning into for spiritual reasons, so I threw caution to the wind, left my job with no formal plan and decided to start making my own ice cream”.
BL: We’re traditionally a meat-loving people, why vegan ice-cream?
SN: I think that the way veganism is presented to us black people is part of the reason why many don’t want to be a part of it. We’re already dealing with so much – without having to add animal rights to the list too! I believe we should view it from a perspective of health. So many of us and our family members are affected by diabetes, high blood pressure and lactose intolerance. But it’s only when these health scares present themselves that we start paying special attention to our eating patterns.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to break down a type of natural sugar called lactose. Lactose is commonly found in dairy products, such as milk and yoghurt. A person becomes lactose intolerant when his or her small intestine stops making enough of the enzyme lactase to digest and break down the lactose)
BL: Who is the ice cream aimed at, then?
SN: At first I wanted to cater to everyone but as any business person will tell you, that’s not possible. Yococo ice-cream is aimed at people who are lactose intolerant, vegans and generally health conscious. That said, I do have customers who just love the taste and only see the health benefits as secondary.
DID YOU KNOW? A vegan is a person who doesn’t eat meat or meat products such as eggs, milk and sometimes even honey!
BL: Why the name Yococo?
SN: It’s a portmanteau (blend of words) between yoghurt and coconut. I was initially scared that I wouldn’t be able to make ice cream. So I settled for yoghurt, but then realised I was limiting myself. The name stuck.
BL: That has to be some very special ice cream…
SN: Well, I’ve formulated the taste in a particular way to demonstrate that just because it’s vegan – doesn’t mean it is not creamy and tasty. I make the ice cream myself and I use as many organic ingredients as I can. The response has been great. I love that people are always surprised that it’s not what they thought it would taste like.
BL: Your Instagram page is #goals. How do our #BossLadies get in touch?