Ouma Rusks


Present Logo

Plan Ouma Rusks
Product type Rusk
Owner RCL Foods (2013)
Country South Africa
Introduced 1939 (1939)
Markets Southern Africa
Previous owners
  • Greyvenstyn Family (1939)
  • Fedfood (1977)
  • Foodcorp (1992)
Tagline Baked on the original farm
Website www.rclfoods.com/ouma

Ouma (commonly referred to as Ouma's Rusks) is a South African rusk made from a traditional buttermilk recipe.[1] It was first introduced in the rural town of Molteno, Eastern Cape, by Elizabeth Ann Greyvenstyn in 1939.[2] In response to an offer by the town's pastor to help fund entrepreneurial efforts of the women in his congregation.[3] The brand currently dominates the relatively-small local rusk market, and is manufactured in the same town it was first introduced.[4]


In an effort to reduce the negative impact of the Great Depression, the town's pastor offered each female member of his congregation money to start local businesses and increase their family income.[5][6] They each received a half-crown, which is equivalent to two shillings and sixpence (roughly worth £30 or R520 in 2016).[7]

They were first sold under the brand name "Outspan Rusks" but was changed soon after to 'Ouma' (Afrikaans for grandmother).[8][9] Elizabeth's grandson, Leon Greyvensteyn, was involved in the establishment and management of the company went on to found the Simba Chip company in 1956.[10]

In 1941[11] the newly created governmental Industrial development Corporation (South Africa) gave its first start-up loan to Ouma Rusks for £1,500.[12] Ouma became part of Fedfood in the 1970s, and since 1992 has been owned by Foodcorp (South Africa).[13] As of 2012 Foodcorp still maintains an Ouma Rusks factory in the town of Molteno employing 250 people.[9]

Though based in South Africa, Ouma Rusks are consumed internationally due to the diaspora.[14]


The Ouma factory in Molteno is currently the largest-employer in the town, with 250 employees.[15][16]


Ouma Rusk's advertising slogan ‘Let’s go and dunk an Ouma’ is well known in South Africa.[17]


  1. Campbell, James (19 October 1999). "The Americanization of South Africa" (PDF). University of the Witwatersrand: 16. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  2. "A flavour of genius". The Marketing Site. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  3. "A legendary biscuit: Ouma Rusks". South Africa. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  4. "Design Indaba Creative Brief" (PDF). Foodcorp: 3. May 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  5. Burgess, Mike (21 January 2013). "Keeping our Ouma (rusks) in Molteno". Framer's Weekly. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  6. Basson, Leilani (3 August 2010). "Ouma's Rusks and her husband's Ford". Leisure Wheels. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  7. "Relative value of UK pound (income value)". Measuring Worth. 30 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016. Income Value is measured using the relative average income to buy a commodity.
  8. "How a private-public partnership saved the historic Eastern Cape town of Molteno". Ouma. 5 November 2013. Archived from the original on 15 May 2014.
  9. 1 2 Esterhuizen, Idéle. "Foodcorp invests R47mn in E Cape upgrade, retains 250 jobs". Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  10. "TMS: A flavour of genius". The Marketing Site. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  11. Toit, Julienne du (2014-08-15). "KAROO DIARY: Legend of Ouma Rusks". SAPeople - Your Worldwide South African Community. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  12. "1941 Ouma Rusks" (PDF). Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  13. "Ouma Rusks and Simba Chips - Roaring success steeped in tradition". MWEB. South Africa. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013.
  14. "The Ouma Legend Lives On and On." Africa News Service 24 April 2012. accessed via subscription Gale General OneFile, or via AllAfrica.com by subscription
  15. Esterhuizen, Idele (29 August 2012). "Foodcorp invests R47m to save historic Ouma Rusks factory". Engineering News. Creamer Media. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  16. Muchatibaya, David (16 May 2016). "How Rusks Became a South African Favourite". Binuns Blog. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  17. Grange, Helen (17 June 2014). "The brands that define Mzanzi". IOL Lifestyle. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
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