In 1964, Mr. E. D. Harnekar founded Playtime Lollies in Lansdowne, Cape Town.
With his wife, four sons and a daughter, he started making handmade ice lollies with the taste and quality fit for a king and priced affordably even to the man on the street, this was the recipe for successes to come.
In the later 60’s because of the popular demand for Playtime Lollies Mr. E. D. Harnekar acquired his first ice cream machine “Gram” which was a cylindrical mould machine, before the end of the decade, demand for Playtime had grown so much that Playtime started buying out other factories such as Queens Ice Cream and Gatti.
So who is Gatti? Mr. Gatti, of Italian descent was a master of ice cream having family ties with the great Carlo Gatti. Mr. Gatti, the original owner of Gatti, and produced ice cream namely vanilla, strawberry and chocolate flavour.
In 1973, the Gatti Ice Cream facility and brand name was bought out by Mr. E. D Harnekar and the production of ice cream continued until 1976, when other lines and flavors were introduced.
In 1989, Mr. E.D. Harnekar retired and handed over the company to his five children making this a second-generation family business.
Sadly Mr. E.D Harnekar passed away on the 26 March 1996 and is still missed by many of his family and still to this day often spoken about by his staff, customers and family.
The product range has now expanded to many varieties of cones, wafers, lollies, flavored full cream ice creams, coated ice creams, cartons and tubs. Distribution now includes most major hubs of South Africa, Central Africa, general retail, including the informal sector and hospitality industry.
From humble beginnings and hardship during the years of apartheid and harsh financial crises.
Management and staff at Gatti Ice Cream are proud of their tradition and achievement, attribute these successes, and increased market share to being able to consistently deliver affordable treats that still hold the idea that Mr. E. D Harnekar started with ”the taste and quality fit for a king and priced affordably even to the man on the street” that is quality and food, safe and can compete with international standards.
The Company has moved up the road but still in Lansdowne to a larger facility expanding to over 10 000m2, it now employs more than 300 permanent and casual staff combined making it the largest African owned Ice Cream Factory in Africa.