We must empower each other: Furusa

Gertrude Furusa is the founder of Velvet and Rose, a fashion house that promotes African culture and traditions and uplifts local communities through economic empowerment.

The founder of fashion house, Velvet and Rose, Gertrude Furusa.
The founder of fashion house, Velvet and Rose, Gertrude Furusa.

Her company designs and produces innovative, bold and exclusive pieces in various African fabrics and textures. Based in the United Kingdom, Furusa started her professional career in 2008, making shoes, jewellery and other accessories.

Her hard work has seen her being nominated for the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards 2013 Fashion Category. The profit the company makes is mostly channelled to various projects aimed at empowering fellow women and girls.

Furusa also works with prominent activist Barbra Nyagomo in uplifting young women and girls in the Southern African region. She strongly believes that women should empower each other in business and education.

“I am paying school fees for numerous children back home (in Zimbabwe) and I will continue doing so as a way of giving back to the community. I started sponsoring a girl in Mozambique through World Vision in 2005 after realising how she was suffering and since then I have never looked back.

“Women should empower each other in many spheres. I am a firm believer that as a woman, one should not wait for a man to define her as a woman,” she said.

She and Nyagomo work to develop strategies on how to empower other women in Africa who do not have resources to start their own businesses. Furusa says she is inspired by her mother’s motto: “You do not get anything out of sleeping.’’

“Everyday I wake up looking at my hands thinking of what they will create. I don’t believe in working for other people but in creating things for myself. Women out there should understand that it does not matter what your circumstances are. Whether educated or not, rich or poor, able or disabled, you can do anything if you put your mind to it,” she said.

Born in Harare in 1980, Furusa attended Girls High School briefly before enrolling at Pakame Mission in Shurugwi where she completed her O levels.

“My parents always wanted me to go further with my education but have I felt that I wanted to have my own business. I managed to do topflight secretarial studies at Trust Academy in Zimbabwe,” she added.

In 2001, her parents advised her to migrate to Australia with her sister to study but she instead ended up in the UK where she enrolled at Luton University to study interior design but later dropped out because she did not want to waste three years in lecture rooms.

She also draws her inspiration from her father who was an Accounting Manager at Sheraton Hotel and later on went on to start his own business, while her mother, whom she regards as a tactician entrepreneur, always had things to sell.

Post published in: News

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