Plain Ouma Rusks
Product typeRusk
OwnerRCL Foods (2013)
CountrySouth Africa
Introduced1939; 85 years ago (1939)
MarketsSouthern Africa
Previous owners
  • Greyvenstyn Family (1939)
  • Fedfood (1977)
  • Foodcorp (1992)
TaglineBaked on the original farm

Ouma (/ˈ.mɑː/ (commonly referred to as Ouma Rusks) is a South African rusk made from a traditional buttermilk recipe.[1] It was first produced in the rural town of Molteno, in the Eastern Cape, by Elizabeth Ann Greyvenstyn in 1939,[2] in response to an initiative by the town's pastor to help the 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 produced.[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]

In 1941,[10] the fledgling governmental Industrial Development Corporation (South Africa) gave its first start-up loan to Ouma Rusks for £1,500.[11] Elizabeth's grandson, Leon Greyvensteyn, who was involved in the establishment and management of the company, went on to found the Simba Chip company in 1956.[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]


The Ouma factory in Molteno is currently the largest employer in the town, with 250 employees.[14][15]


Ouma Rusk's advertising slogan ‘Let’s go and dip an Ouma’ is well known in South Africa.[16]


  1. ^ Campbell, James (19 October 1999). The Americanization of South Africa (PDF) (Thesis). University of the Witwatersrand. p. 16. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  2. ^ "A flavour of genius". The Marketing Site. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Design Indaba Creative Brief" (PDF). Foodcorp: 3. May 2011. Retrieved 18 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. Archived from the original on 2016-05-08. 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. ^ a b Esterhuizen, Idéle. "Foodcorp invests R47mn in E Cape upgrade, retains 250 jobs". Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  10. ^ Toit, Julienne du (2014-08-15). "KAROO DIARY: Legend of Ouma Rusks". SAPeople - Your Worldwide South African Community. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  11. ^ "1941 Ouma Rusks" (PDF). Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  12. ^ "TMS: A flavour of genius". The Marketing Site. Archived from the original on 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  13. ^ "Ouma Rusks and Simba Chips - Roaring success steeped in tradition". MWEB. South Africa. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  14. ^ Esterhuizen, Idele (29 August 2012). "Foodcorp invests R47m to save historic Ouma Rusks factory". Engineering News. Creamer Media. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  15. ^ Muchatibaya, David (16 May 2016). "How Rusks Became a South African Favourite". Binuns Blog. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  16. ^ Grange, Helen (17 June 2014). "The brands that define Mzanzi". IOL Lifestyle. Retrieved 19 October 2016.