A Walk Down Our Proud History
Gledhow Sugar shares a love for the industry and has evolved with that passion into the establishment it is today. Empowering the local community and expanding the company to reach new heights. Our rich history inspires us for the growth we forsee in the future.  
History of Sugar
Origins of the sugar cane plant believed to be the Polynesian Islands of the South Pacific, where it is believed to have existed as long ago as 2 000 BC (Hannah and Spence, 1996).​

By around 1500 sugar cane had become widely known and extensively cultivated.

Sugar is also extracted from the sugar beet plant, which is cultivated in the cooler regions of the world.

Today, approximately 180 million tons of sugar is produced in over 100 countries – 78% of this sugar is made from sugar cane, with the balance from sugar beet.
History of Sugar in South Africa
Cultivation of sugar cane and production of sugar began, in KZN in the mid 19th century.

E Morewood is accredited with growing the first sugar cane in 1847, at Compensation, near Durban.

The first ‘locally produced’ sugar was sold in South Africa in 1855.

By 1880 there were 70 sugar mills in operation, though these were very small, with the number gradually reducing in favour of larger, more economical mills (by 1920 the number of mills had been reduced to 25).

Today there are 14 sugar mills in operation, owned and operated by six companies.
History of Gledhow Sugar Company
Original mill built on the current site in 1879.

A new, much larger mill, built in 1912.
• Over the years much has been added to this mill, gradually increasing capacity to the current 300 tons cane processed per hour.

• As demand for refined sugar increased a refinery was built on site, in 1958, with a capacity of refining 35 tons per hour of sugar.

• In 1988 a conditioning tower was added to improve the ‘keeping quality’ of the refined sugar. Ownership was originally private, with sugar pioneers from the Smith, Reynolds, Pearce, and Crookes brothers involved. 

• Illovo Sugar (then known as CG Smith Sugar) assumed ownership in 1975.

• In 2004 the mill was sold to a Black Empowerment company, the Sokhela family trust.
• In 2009 additional shareholders, in the form of Illovo Sugar (30%), Sappi (10%), and Growers supplying the mill (25,1%), were included, resulting in the Ushukela Milling (formerly the Sokhela Family Trust) retaining 34,9%.