Sadie's story

Name: Sadie Company: FACT Designs

Born in 1985 in the Congo in a Village called Kananga, Sadie had a happy childhood, one of eight children, living with her parents.

At age 12 the family moved to Kinshasha where her mother ran a small successful business selling wares to the townsfolk. Whilst living there she was taught how to sew by a seamstress who was a tenant in their home.

At the age of 18 Sadie married a soldier and they moved to the town of Goma on Lake Kivu, close to the border of Rwanda. They had a daughter and lived with her husband Rober’s mother. In 2009 she received the news that her husband had been killed in the Congo Rwandan war. A year later their neighbourhood was infiltrated by the Mai Mai, a militant group operating in the area. Their home was invaded, and the men raped Sadie and her mother in law. Terrified, she managed to escape out a back window and like many others ran for a woodland situated behind her home. She ran for three to four hours in the forest becoming completely disorientated and lost and eventually came upon a road. She flagged down the first vehicle to come her way, a truck with cargo and four men. They put her in the back with the cargo and she drove with them for ten days. She had no idea where she was going. These four men fed her but violated her each day. They travelled over three thousand miles and after ten days at the Zimbabwe/South African border she was told to get out. She had no money, no belongings and no food. She also could only speak French, - no English.

Eventually a kind stranger worked out that she was from the Congo and took her to a local Congolese family living nearby. Bebe the matriarch of this family advised her to take a bus to Cape Town where she felt her prospects would be better as she had heard that a lot of people from the Congo had settled there. Bebe bought her a ticket and put her on the bus. Subsequently Bebe and Sadie became good friends and have remained in touch. Arriving in Cape Town she sat at the station and waited not knowing what else to do. In time she heard French spoken and approached the family. Originally from the Congo, they took her to their home where she stayed for two months cleaning and cooking for them. During this time, the family arranged for Paul Bola, a man much her senior and also from the Congo to take Sadie in and look after her. Paul and Sadie were married and have two daughters.

Today, Sadie works at FACT, she is a self taught seamstress and is responsible for the making of most of the products that FACT has put forward for the Manna Box Project.

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