Getting to Know the People Who Make Your Clothes
Meet Rozel Brandt; known to her friends as Rozie.
Rozie is personable, beautiful, fun, and SO hard working! Without her and her co-workers, Brookes Collective wouldn’t be able to turn out our high quality product. We did a little interview with the wonderful Rozie so you as consumers get the privilege to know some of the people that work hard to create our beautiful line. It is so easy to see a blank face when we think about who makes our clothes - if we consider the question at all (me being just as guilty of this!!).
Rozie works at Sparrow Society; the fair trade manufacturing company we at Brookes Collective have partnered with. She is a very proud Mama of 5 amazing kids and an Oma (Grandmother) to 3 littles.
Now her life is full of joy, family, and work that she loves. Two of her kids are part of a specialty soccer club, one son is an aspiring Olympian, one daughter has finished University (the first in her family) and is now a full time teacher, and one daughter is an incredible mama. Her life has its ups and downs, but Rozie considers herself extremely blessed.
Rozie did not have all this handed to her. Her life was full of difficult and painful choices (along with beautiful ones too!) that has led her to this place.
Rozie’s story starts in the North of South Africa, being brought South to Cape Town by her father. Her father, while trying to protect her, told lies to her about her mother which led to an estranged relationship with her mum. She was brought to a local community called Ocean View.
Speaking about Ocean view she said “Ocean view is an amazing place. Or rather it use to be. In the last few years we’ve had an influx of gangsters. Over 100 men killed in shootings. It’s still beautiful and I am still proud of my community.”
Rozie was young when the Apartheid system of Oligarchical rule was still strong. The system of Apartheid separated individuals by race; placing the racial groups of: Colored, Black, and Indians below the white ruling class. She however felt very protected by the hate and violence that was prevalent in the country over the course of her life by her family and in her community and now celebrates how far her Country has come!
As she grew up she says a defining season in her life was reconnecting with her Mum. It was a short season as her mother tragically died soon after, but she speaks about that season getting to know her Mum was what helped her make good choices for the rest of her life.
She didn’t finish high school but met her husband and quickly started having her amazing children. Four years ago tragedy struck when her husband died. They were left with nothing and with Rozie having not finished her education or having done any job skills training they were in an extremely difficult place. There is not a welfare system they could fall back on and she didn’t know what to do.
She was left with 5 children and no plan. They were financially stranded after her husbands death. They had a house but no other income to provide for herself and her family.
A start up soccer club called Ubuntu academy had taken notice of her two youngest and stepped in pretty quickly after her husband’s death and rallied around the family and particularly the two youngest boys paying for their education. There is no free education in South Africa and it is relatively expensive. If you cannot afford it, your children will not receive an education.
While the two youngest education was cared for, Rozie was still unable to find any income for her family's other needs that were stacking up.
That is when Casey, the co-fouders of Umbuntu academy introduced Rozie to Kate, the founder and CEO of Sparrow Society.
Kate saw Rozie for who she was and worked hard to give Rozie the training and skills needed to employee her full time.
Now Rozie cannot wait to go into work at Sparrow Society. She loves everyone she works with. She can’t wait for new projects (like Brookes Collective) and wants to work all the time!
Her entire family has been positively impacted from her job at Sparrow Society. She can do more that just survive; she can buy her kids new soccer cleats and put three good meals a day on the table for her family!
He life is an inspiration in her community. When I ask about why she thinks her life has turned out the way it has when so many others in her community are fighting to survive each day she speaks about choices and legacy.
Rozie is so very proud of the choices she has made in life. She recognizes that there were plenty of mistakes but for the most part has made good choices.
She believes deeply in generosity.
She says that she believes in families helping each other. That if one family (like hers) is doing well that that should impact the entire community. She speaks about how her generosity is a gift she’s given to her children, it has translated into the kind people they have become.
She thinks about her family and says:
“We laugh hard all day long as a family. I am so grateful that God is in my life and I am able to teach them his ways.”
We are SO proud of Rozie and getting the opportunity to work with someone whose whole persona is drenched in kindness and wisdom!
#whomademyclothes? Rozie made our clothes!! sparrowsociety.co.za - Check them out!