In January, 1999, Margaret Legum, a major figure in liberal South African politics all her life and a resident of Richmond upon Thames for the 28 years she and her husband Colin were banned from their home country, took two long-time British neighbours, Jill Grist and Judy Wright, to meet the Rev Dr Spiwo Xapile, pastor of the J L Zwane Memorial Church in Guguletu, part of the vast shanty town on the Cape Flats. He told them about the community work he was doing both in the Transkei and in Capetown.

Jill and Judy returned to England determined to support Dr. Xapile and his community. With a group of friends they set up the Rainbow Fund, a registered charity based in Richmond.