The Winnie Rust Foundation was founded after Winnie Rust, a well-known Wellington author, was murdered by a young man whom she had supported and mentored, and his accomplice. The foundation encourages ordinary people to carry on with the positive work that Winnie was doing and to keep on striving, against the odds and despite disheartening crime statistics, to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and violence in our region by investing in poorly-resourced people in our community.

Amidst the disillusionment that her family suffered during the immediate aftermath of this cruel and brutal event, they embarked on a time of reflection and re-examination of their values and beliefs.  They also took into consideration their stance on violence in the Cape Winelands region where 176 people were murdered between 2016 and 2017, their mother being one of 28 people murdered in Wellington alone during this period.

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Following this time of reflection, the family decided that they would fight the instinctive impulse to close up, allowing hatred and cynicism to prevail, and chose instead to live with ‘open arms’ like their mother did.
To give this decision practical impetus and in an effort to facilitate and promote their own healing, they founded The Winnie Rust Foundation. It is anticipated that this attempt to turn their personal tragedy into a beacon of hope will provide opportunities for others and bring healing and encouragement to families who have suffered a similar fate.

In the end, it is her family’s hope that the name of Winnie Rust will no longer be associated with a cruel and senseless act but rather with a legacy of realised dreams and bright opportunities for many disadvantaged individuals, befitting of a woman who was optimistic, cheerful and compassionate.

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To inspire others to keep on investing in disadvantaged communities in the Cape Winelands despite disheartening crime statistics and to get involved through giving or by serving as mentors. Your involvement will lead to meaningful change in our beneficiaries’ lives and will help to expand the restorative sphere of influence of our foundation.


Supporting poorly-resourced people of the Western Cape Winelands by creating opportunities for education, training and meaningful employment.


To establish the foundation, a group of like-minded people with a heart for their community, a track record of community involvement, and with a set of valuable and varied skills, were brought on board as trustees.

  • Helena Reid
  • Gordon Reid
  • Lize Malan
  • Barend Oosthuizen
  • Douglas Rawlings
  • John Thöle

Helena Reid


Winnie Rust’s daughter has worked as an editor in the book publishing industry and as a trauma counsellor for a community mental health organisation.

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Helena has worked for Good Hope Psychological Service, a non-profit organisation based in Stellenbosch and Paarl, as a registered trauma counsellor for several years and also served on their board. She briefly worked as a copywriter in the advertising industry in the nineties and then for a decade both as a natural history editor for Struik Publishers and, on a freelance basis, as a copy editor and project manager for Maskew Miller Longman and several other educational publishers.As an amateur painter and self-taught artist she has been involved with the Marie Stander Art School in Jamestown for many years. She holds honours degrees in Journalism, English Studies and Psychology from the University of Stellenbosch and Unisa and is registered with the HPCSA.

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Gordon Reid


Gordon is a director at the law firm ENSafrica (Stellenbosch) in the corporate commercial department.

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He specialises in mergers and acquisitions and general corporate and commercial transactions across various sectors. He is also a qualified agricultural economist. He has been involved in community work in the less privileged communities of Stellenbosch, particularly Kayamandi, for more than 30 years in various capacities where he has served as mentor, teacher, facilitator and funder. He holds qualifications from the University of Stellenbosch, the University of Cape Town, Unisa and Manchester University in agriculture, future studies, business and law. These include the degrees BAgric (Admin), BCom (Hons), BProc, LLM and MPhil.

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Lize Malan

Lize is a qualified town planner and heritage consultant, and lifelong friend of the Rust family. She holds a master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Stellenbosch.

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She has worked as consultant in the fields of planning and heritage management for almost two decades with a wide variety of communities and clients. She loves working with children and, in the past, has volunteered for the Help-to-Read programme in Stellenbosch and, currently, works with Helena Reid on the Khula project for school children in Klapmuts. Lize is a member of the Stellenbosch Viva Cantare community choir and serves on the board of the newly launched Stellies Children’s Choir.

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Barend Oosthuizen

Barend is a qualified structural engineer and manages his own business By Design Consulting Engineers and Specialist Contractors in Stellenbosch.

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He is a structural engineer by profession, an ardent outdoor sportsman after-hours, and a humanitarian by nature. He sees his business, By Design, as an opportunity to develop skills in his employees beyond their historic social opportunities. He is known as a compassionate employer who challenges his employees to go beyond industry-norms, and become out-of-the-box thinkers and do-ers.

His deep sense of social responsibility has meant that he has always believed in giving beyond what is comfortable. In 2006 he purchased a “shebeen” (informal drinking house) in Chris Nissen Park and set about turning it into a crèche for local children whose days were spent on the streets. It is now a beacon of hope for children, as well as a launching pad for previously-unemployed women who are now trained ECD-teachers.

He also supports youth through school bursaries, extra-mural activities, tutoring and mentorship, ensuring all-round support for beneficiaries. These bursaries were formally constituted under a registered NPC he oversees. His eldest bursary-holder is about to matriculate from the top school in the Western Cape this year, and her future is beckoning brightly.

He was also one of the initiators and early supporters of the Sisonke Social Circus in Stellenbosch. Six years later sees a legacy of skills-development in the entertainment industry spill into real-life employment opportunities.

In his personal life, Barend is a fantastically fun father to 6 children: a grown-up informal-foster daughter , 3 biological girls, and his youngest two adopted children. There is never a dull moment in his home that is populated by artists, a sporty young engineer, a stage-performer son, and a feisty youngest. Which is partly why Barend is such an ardent mountain-bike rider!

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Douglas Rawlings

Doug is an emeritus Professor of Microbiology at the US. Previously he was Head of Department, Dean of Science and, for a short period, acting Vice-Rector (Research).

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Currently, he looks after a mentoring program for early career academic staff at the University of Stellenbosch. Before that he spent 16.5 years at the University of Cape Town where he was elected a Fellow and distinguished teacher. Doug has extensive experience in research, teaching and university administration. He is a Founder Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (1986) and is a Fellow of Royal Society of South Africa where he served for 18 years on its Council, much of the time as General Secretary and was Society President during the years 2004-2006.

He completed a PhD degree at Rhodes University in 1976. He specialised in the biology of biomining micro-organisms and their plasmids and was awarded a DSc from the University of Stellenbosch (2014) for work in the latter field. He is a recipient of the PanLabs award (Society for Industrial Microbiology, USA, 1997), the Havenga prize (SA Academy for Science and Arts, 2011), Stellenbosch University Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research and the university’s Chancellor’s Award (2014). He has been supervisor of 18 completed PhDs and published approximately 120 papers, books and book chapters.

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John Thöle

John (an educational ICT and skills development specialist) is a qualified IT teacher and is a founding member of Edunova (a non-profit company in the educational sector).

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During his time in the field, John has focused on leadership and the management of ICT and has worked closely with Heads and Senior Strategic teams to ensure the professional implementation of ICT. He spent three years as the business development manager of an IBM Premier business partner in the UK where he developed his commercial grounding in ICT. In South Africa, John has continued to work alongside clients working on a transformational agenda.

As a social entrepreneur he has worked on developing models to support youth to cultivate the skills needed to enter into employment. John’s interest and passion for youth, technology and education ensures that he regularly contributes to the national discourse in these areas. Professionally, he holds a Higher Diploma in Education obtained from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg College of Education, as well as a certificate in Curriculum Management and Design from the University of Surrey.

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