Oarabile Mashigo, a BA Law graduate from UP, established a small business, Cozii Lifestyle, after dropping out of his postgraduate studies because of a lack of funds. Cozii Lifestyle is a blanket making business that Mashigo started after being taught how to make blankets by his Tuks Ekhaya student residence House Guardian, David Raats, and his wife, Nicolette Raats. Mashigo says that after recognising the unemployment, crime and substance abuse crisis in his community in Pretoria West, he saw it fit to rise with others. He works with young people and shows them the ropes of blanket-making. He currently employs four people. “My hope is to at least employ 10 people by the end of the year, and have the number rise up each year as we reach more South Africans”, said Mashigo.

In July, influenced by the wishes of his late brother, who was murdered in their Pretoria West community last year, Mashigo decided to start the #Coziiblanketdrive. The aim of this drive is to get as many people as possible to buy blankets for the homeless. “My brother’s wish was to see the people of his community saved from all the socio-economic challenges we face, and it is rather ironic that it was the same challenges that ended his life. It is his death that influenced this drive”, stated Mashigo. Mashigo told PDBY that he has been trying to get sponsorship from corporate and local businesses for the drive, but to no avail.
“The only form of sponsorship that we have been getting is from our customers buying two blankets and leaving one for the drive”. Mashigo urges the UP community to contribute to the blanket drive. He said, “It would be great to see UP assist in keeping our people on the streets warm during this harsh winter”. Mashigo further indicated that, with the help of their partners, Help a Homeless Homie, the drive was a success, as they were able to donate 56 blankets to the homeless in Johannesburg.

Mashigo says that he hopes and believes that his entrepreneurial initiative will help raise enough money for his tuition to complete his postgraduate LLB studies. Mashigo has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. According to Mashigo, “before I started making blankets, I used to run a small cycling business whereby people in my community would pay me to run errands for them for a fee”. Seeing that it was Pride Month, and being a member of the queer community, Mashigo said that he hopes that his business will one day grow and be run by queer people and women. “I believe in the power of women, hence now my team is made of women and most of my customer base is women. I once read that when you empower women you empower a nation. And that is what I want Cozii to do for women; empower them”, said Mashigo. Mashigo went on to state that “I do not want Cozii to be like one of these South African corporate businesses that just inserts pride colours on their profiles during pride month and still not do anything for the community. I want Cozii to lift and protect queer people”.

Due to the traction and attention that Cozii has garnered over the past four months, Mashigo has been approached by private law firms that will be funding his 2022 studies – SEESA (Pty) Ltd and one more firm that cannot be disclosed at the moment. “I am deeply grateful to them and so many others for this opportunity”, stated Mashigo. Cozii Lifestyle is also doing great for a small business started during a pandemic. “Cozii has been turning a profit and is now allowing us the platform to branch out into clothing and homeware for Autumn/Winter 2022”, explained Mashigo.

Cozii blankets price ranges are: a 1.5 metre blanket is R230, 2 metre is R260, and 3 metre is R300. Blankets for the drive are
sold for R230. Customers around Pretoria are guaranteed free delivery. For those in other areas, a R60 additional delivery fee is
charged.

For purchases, customers can order on the following platforms: WhatsApp – 079 669 1017; Instagram and Twitter – @coziilifestyle. More information is available on the website: https://cutt.ly/ZnyxwqL

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History, Archaeology and Setswana student at the University of Pretoria. An avid reader and lover of news writing and broadcasting. I have a passion for African indigenous languages and history. A prospective world-class journalist and scholar