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The Cultural Purveyor: Rolo Rozay


He has been at the forefront of the progressive sneaker game in South Africa. His enthusiasm for street culture has landed him a feature on Hypebeast and he has graced GQ magazine with his presence. Rolo Rozay hails from the 7490 and considers himself the Bree Street bully. We were able to catch up with the OG about his thoughts on the current sneaker culture in South Africa.

Russian Bear: Rolo, what is your current role within the South African sneaker culture?
Rolo Rozay: Well I really don’t know how to answer that, I am me, a guy from Bishop Lavis who liked sneakers and met up with some like-minded individuals on social media and the rest is history. I am not sure because no one really has ownership, it’s either contribute or consume. I won’t caIl myself an influencer because that’s dumb, but I think I am more of an enforcer to those who need to be checked or guided back to safety. I am just glad to be a part of it.

RB: What was your first pair of kicks you bought yourself?
Rolo Rozay: I got my first job in 2003 and it was actually a pair of PUMA Suedes from Guy named Biskit who worked at the warehouse. I paid like R90 and it was a pair I would rock in the week to prolong the lifespan of the one pair a year I used to get.

RB: As we enter into the second year of King of Kicks, do you see this campaign helping to grow the sneaker game and educating South Africans on the culture?
Rolo Rozay: We can see a lot of people and brands getting involved and creating alliances.

RB: Who was your biggest influence into the sneaker game?
Rolo Rozay: I grew up in the 90s which means I saw people dressing the way they dress now, not because that was cool but actually how we really dressed back then. My Uncle who is 11 years older than me, was was not the flyest kids out there but he had the lay-by game on lock because the shoes he wanted. My grandad was not gonna cop it for him and we not talking about Jordans or Nike we talking Fila, Ewings, Reeboks and things of that nature.

RB: Do you consider yourself a sneakerhead or a sneaker collector?
Rolo Rozay: None of the above. I am a cultural purveyor from the feet up. Again society called us sneakerheads but now the term is used so loosely .

RB: What is your personal favourite pair of kicks that dropped in 2016?
Rolo Rozay: It would be Filling Pieces x Puma Collab where two shoe brands came together on the same work of art.

RB: What are you 24/7 sneakers?
Rolo Rozay: We all know I work for PUMA SA so I stay in some Puma Suedes mostly.

RB: What was the first pair of kicks you bought for your first-born?
Rolo Rozay: Well she is six now and before she was born and she had 3 pairs. I think it was Jordan 13 Chicago (Size 2), Air Max BW crib (size 0) And a pair of Air-Force Ones.

RB: Is your sneaker collection bigger than 100 pairs?
Rolo Rozay: To be honest I never count. When I run out of space I give them away to my cousin or surprise guys in my area by giving them randomly. It does not really matter how many pairs I have, this is for cultural purposes and it’s not a competition about who has more pairs – quality over quantity!

RB: Whose sneaker collection do you admire? 
Rolo Rozay: Probably have to be Mr Skodilla who basically rocks anything any style anything.