How we began & The Team

Raising Rhino Rands is a Non-Profit Organisation founded by Tania Oosthuizen, a creative woman with a passion for people and rhino’s

Once upon a time, just over 6 years ago, a little boy was born into this beautiful, tough world of ours. His parents named him Bernardo, meaning “strong as a bear” which was so apt for this little guy as he was bigger and stronger than most boys his age. Yet, in nature and at heart…..a true gentle giant, just like his father and the rhino’s he later came to love.
As a toddler he and his father would play “kap hom met die kop” and they would knock their two heads together at the brow with massive smiles of connection, playfulness and love – the scene so similar to that of two rhino’s in a playful tussle. With his mom he would give Rhino kisses which meant they would touch and roll their foreheads together, connecting with their eyes, then rolling down over the nose and ending with a kiss. He became their little Baby Rhino.
Bernardo became fascinated Rhino’s and they soon became his favourite animal and stuffed toys. This led his mother to learning more about them with pure delight, joy, connection and then too, sadness, anger and sometimes even despair. For these beautiful creatures are hunted almost to extinction and often babies are left dead or dying next to their mothers who have been savagely butchered.
Desperate to help, she searched for a way to be make an impact, to be part of the solution. She joined groups and tried to make herself available, from a distance, to various organisations.
Finally, after many years, she found a way that she could possibly raise funds, even little ones, by using her time, her talent, her passion and her commitment and created Raising Rhino People. ““Do what you love and they will love what you do” is a quote that speaks to my heart and so I have learned how to make these phenomenal creatures that I and my son have fallen so in love with.
I am dedicating Raising Rhino Rands to selling the craft so that the money may be raised to contribute towards saving, caring and rehabilitating little baby rhino’s who remind me so much of my son.”


Tania Oosthuizen – Founder and Chairperson

Tania is a soulful woman with a passion for uplifting people and helping animals, rhino’s in particular.  She has always been a champion of the “underdog”, trying to inspire hope, self-belief and compassion in those who have felt the lack thereof for too long. 

Tania believes in practicing what she preaches and does her best to lead by example, however she often finds herself talking the talk and then has to navigate back to walking the walk.  She is driven, creative and inspiring. 

She can be an idealistic dreamer but as she is aware of this, she leans heavily on her colleagues to keep her grounded and focused, channeling her incredible energy and enthusiasm towards the common goal – Saving our Orphans and Educating the People to their plight.

Ncediwe Nyaba – Workshop mama (manager) and rhino maker

Ncesh is a ray of sunshine in our lives!  Her willingness to learn, to listen, to give feedback and always speak her mind is and has been invaluable in the growth of Raising Rhino Rands.  Ncesh manages the workshop and will also be assisting in the training of women in rural area’s. 

Ncesh came to us needing to earn a living but not so keen on sewing. However, since she has been with us she has developed not only a love for sewing but also a passion for the little rhino’s she makes!  

Ncesh is a loving, honest, spunky, respectful woman who is not afraid to voice her opinion on all matters, keeping us all on track with clear communication and then challenges us to live to the fullest of who we are!  We are very blessed to have her in our team!!!

Yoliswa Mdoda- hand sewing & gives our babies the love/care just before they leave

Yoliswa does all the hand sewing and gives our babies the love and care they need just before they leave, ensuring they are ready to be sent to their new homes. 

Despite having sewn for some time it took Yoliswa and I a few days to teach and learn ladder stitch – the final loving touch. 

Yoliswa is a lovely woman who is hard working and quite shy. 

Slowly she has begun to join the workshop chatter and laughter and it is lovely to see her join this powerful circle of women!!

Nomvuyiseko (Mantombi) Dike – Maker of lions (machinist)

Mantombi is a shy, loving woman who came to us having worked in a factory sewing up a storm of clothes and bags.  Making our little stuffed toys was a learning process for her and it has been an absolute delight to watch Mantombi step out of her shell more and more.  She is slowly learning that giving her opinion and being who she is in our workshop is something we encourage and after a few months she is flourishing.  She begins to embody the very aspect of the animals she creates – the Courage of a Lion!

Watching Mantombi makes me realise more and more the benefits of what we do here.  It is not just about skilling and employing people and bring awareness to the plight of our wildlife, but it is about empowering woman and letting them be more of who they are inside, not what is expected of them from the outside!

Paul Roux - Treasurer

Paul is dedicated and passionate about Rhino conservation. God-inspired, passionate, witty, dynamic, energetic and motivated in what he does and can achieve. 

He remains reflective in his approach to life, the human condition and our impact as a species on the animal kingdom. 

He is very lucky to be art of Tania’s team and the vision she has for this organisation. He considers Tania an inspiration to those she works with.


Lara Minne - Secretary

Lara is a driven individual, a development practitioner and a researcher at heart. Lara is unashamedly a bookworm, committed to evidence-practice and is constantly striving to better equip herself as a change maker, and contribute towards empowering others.

She believes it is crucial to acknowledge the many social, economic, political and environmental complexities which play a role in wildlife poaching.  Given these complexities, she feels passionately about the work comprehensive approach taken by Raising Rhino Rands. 

The power of connection is tangible in our little workshop where we love and laugh and be creative a lot. We also cry and feel frustrated and hurt; by the work, by life, by the mistakes we make, but in our workshop, we help each other through it. This is the power of a connection. This is what we want to do more of through our Raising Rhino People Project.
Tania Oosthuizen