Cape's Bashew's celebrates 118 years of refreshment

Harry Bashew (Supplied)
Harry Bashew (Supplied)

Cape Town - Bashew’s, the Cape soft drink dating back to 1899, has launched a new Harry’s Cola Tribute Edition in honour of one of its founding members and to celebrate over 118 years of refreshment.

It is a salute to Harry Bashew, who started the original Bashew Bros. company with his brother, Marx.

It all started in the spring of 1899 when thousands of British soldiers were based on Green Point Common in Cape Town on their way to the north because of the war.

The two Bashew brothers saw an opportunity to cater for the needs of the soldiers, most of whom had never been exposed to such a hot climate.

For decades, Bashew’s delivered their returnable bottles door-to-door in neighbourhoods throughout Cape Town and in country towns such as Paarl, Worcester, Swellendam, Grabouw, Ceres, Moorreesburg, Riebeek West, Robertson and Riversdal.

Starting from humble beginnings, the first Bashew Bros. manufacturing plant was a tiny 37m² room in central Cape Town. In order to keep up with the demand, their small hand-operated filling machine and galvanised iron bathtub to wash the bottles had to work non-stop for 24 hours a day.

After the war, in 1902 the Bashew brothers shifted their focus to supply the civilian community with their soft drinks. A larger wagon pulled by two horses as well as a new filling machine helped to keep up with the demand.

Larger premises

In 1903 the company moved to larger premises in Aspeling Street in District 6. In 1913 the Bashew brothers opened a new factory in Searle Street in Cape Town. As the demand for their colourful soft drinks grew, the brothers purchased their first vehicle in 1918 for deliveries to the city’s northern suburbs.

The successful 48 year partnership from 1899 to 1947 came to an end when Harry passed away in 1947 followed two years later by Marx in 1949.

After their death, Bashew Bros. remained a family business headed by Charles Bashew, the son of Harry, and Felix Heymann, the son-in-law of Marx Bashew. In 1951 the company took occupation of a new factory worth R200 000 on a three acre site in Gunner’s Circle, Epping.


During 1955 the company established franchise agreements with three international soft drinks companies providing Bashew Bros. access to the latest recipes and techniques developed in America and Europe.

The first franchise was granted by the Seven-Up Export Corporation of New York to manufacture the 7-Up drink for the SA market. The other franchise agreement was with John G. Webb of London who was licenced to manufacture Cydrax, a non-alcoholic beverage by Whiteways Cider Company in Devon, England.

The Bashew family relinquished ownership of the company in 1969 when they sold it to Cape Town businessman Ismail Mammon. Mammon moved the Bashew’s factory from Epping to Belville. His son, Moosa took over the business after his father’s death in 1991 and sold it to Zahir Williams and Mehboob Adams in 2009.

In 2010, Chill Beverages International, a Stellenbosch based company, partnered with Williams and Adams to increase the bottling capacity and product offerings bearing the Bashew’s name. In 2016 Chill Beverages acquired sole ownership of Bashew’s.

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