“DIP A OUMA”: Ouma Rusks – A South African Culinary Heritage

Elizabeth Ann Greyvenstein from the farm Friedenham, known as Ouma Nannie, hauled out a family recipe for rusks, and went about baking a batch. She then sold them at the next Church bazaar, and within minutes, the delicious rusks were snapped up by eager shoppers, and that is when the orders started pouring in.

Soon after that, Ouma Nannie’s rusks were available at the various community social occasions and sporting events. Her Son cleverly saw the opportunity to test the demand for his Mom’s delicacy, and went on a national road trip, taking the rusks with him and promoting them. He returned with loads of orders, and went about turning the family barn into a rusk factory, equipping it with home-made rusk dryers and clay ovens

Nannie first sold her rusks under the brand Uitspan, then Outspan. Eventually they became Ouma Rusks. Eventually they became Ouma Rusks. When the Greyvensteyns needed bigger premises, Ouma Nannie applied for a loan of R3 000 from the newly created Industrial Development Corporation. Her husband was well-respected, and became mayor of Molteno for a record-breaking 21 years.

The barn at Friedenheim became a factory which unfortunately burnt down in 1952. A new, better one was built in its place – probably a good thing, because by then the little farm outside Molteno was something of a player in the dry foods market.

To this day, the legendary Ouma rusks are still being baked at Friedenham Farm. In winter it seems, the whole of South Africa wants to wrap its collective hands around a cup of coffee and dip an Ouma.

The business became the little town’s most recognised industry and employs the most staff within a 150km radius. Ouma Nannie kept her hand on the business for many years, and sadly passed away in 1989 at the ripe old age of 98 years.

Ouma rusks are now still enjoyed daily, especially with that first morning cuppa. Key ingredients which give Ouma Rusks their unique flavour, include wheat flour, orange and lemon peel, raisins, peanuts, oats, coconut, vanilla and honey. The product is available in stores throughout South Africa and is also found on shelves in stores for South African expatriates overseas. South Africans around the world yearn for and enjoy the well known Ouma Rusks.

Some 80 years later, the legend of Ouma Rusks lives on, every morning, with that first cup of coffee…

Ouma Rusks are legendary, in fact they have so much history that they have become part of South Africa’s culinary heritage.