Old signs: Simba chips

Simba Chips
Simba is one of the well known potato chip (sometimes called "crisps") manufacturers in South Africa. The company was founded way back in 1956 by the Greyvenstein family, and is today still one of the most loved brands. Perhaps this is because they make great chips, or perhaps because kids like friendly lions. Or, perhaps it's because of their extremely well-known tag-line "Simba roarrrs With flavour".

Many years ago, when in primary school, our teacher took us on an outing to the Simba factory. It was fascinating to watch how potatos got skinned, chopped up, and dumped into huge baths of oil. I however remember at the time being mildly disenchanted by the thought that the chips that I loved weren't lovely made by friendly ladies in nice kitchens, but by machines in dirty-looking factories. :(

10 thoughts on “Old signs: Simba chips

  1. Glen

    Just thought I’d mention that Ouma Greyvenstein is my great grandmother. Apparently I met her back in the early 80’s. But my grandmother, is one of 2 of the 5 or so children still alive, who is still well and healthy. One day when I head to Jozi to visit her, I’ll sit her down and do a recorded chat about the days in Moltino.

  2. Paul

    Post author

    Oh wow Glen – you’re suddenly even more of a celebrity than what you already are! You have to do that chat soon!

    Thanks for the message.

  3. Alta

    Hi, we were wondering how did the Greyvenstein’s bring the lion (Simba) to the potato (Chip). Is it because of the roarring with flavour? Then how did they come to the name Simba? We know lion translated by Swahili is Simba. We had a discussion last night and it just came out – how did they bring the lion to the potato? Your response is appreciated. Regards

  4. Paul

    Post author

    Hi Alta, as far as I understand the Simba brand was started by Leon Greyvenstein. I did some research and the name Leon is derived from the latin (and/or Greek) word lion. So, I’m guessing it’s possible that Leon Grevenstein decided on Simba as it was a derivative of his name, Simba -> Lion -> Leon.

  5. Alta

    Hi Paul, thanks for the info. Answer sounds very logical. Our group of friends have now googled and learnt so much about the company. This whole thing is now a competition between us all. Not much to win but thanks to your answer, a few friends owe me each a glass of wine! We’ll cheers on you and the Greyvensteins, on Sima and on the potato! Have a blessed weekend!

  6. SARAH

    I got a packet of Simba chips today and it had 6g more than the usual 30g. I
    wonder how much of chips used to fill up a packet in 1965 when I was a little

  7. Paul

    Post author

    Sarah, do you normally weigh your chips?! :) I’d say you’re one lucky lady! FWIW, I’m almost sure that chip packets use to be larger when I was young.

  8. Harry

    Hi There,

    I was hoping someone on this forum could give me clarity on a promotion Simba Chips had sometime in the early 90’s. In this promotion the customer had a chance of winning the newly realeased R1,R2 or R5 (not sure which one exactly)coin in their packet of chips. The coin came wrapped in plastic.

    Does anyone else remember this promotion?

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