Brandon was a child of war. Like so many, his family fled Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They went to Senegal, where he was born then to the United States when he was 4 years old.
Their destinations: Iowa. Oklahoma. Eventually Columbia, South Carolina. Along the way, his parents separated and he lived with his father until the father had to return to the DRC, eventually relocating to the Republic of Congo. Eventually, at age 22, Brandon graduated from the University of South Carolina. He told a friend he hoped he could reconnect with his father.
Through the Red Cross, Brandon’s father found him in May 2015.
Brandon Lufele Kazadi was contacted by a Red Cross worker who delivered a hand-written note from his father, dated Jan. 27, 2015. These Red Cross messages are a part of the reconnecting families services offered by the Red Cross. “He hasn’t forgotten me,” Brandon said.
His father had asked the Red Cross in the Republic of Congo for help and said he thought his son might have attended Winthrop University in South Carolina. Brandon had talked about wanting to go to Winthrop.
A caseworker called Winthrop and learned that he had been accepted at the school but had not enrolled. Though a Google search the Red Cross found he had been a mayoral intern in Columbia and that he was a political science major at the University of South Carolina. A search of various clubs on campus showed he was affiliated with the Campus Ministry and an affiliated church
The caseworker contacted the church secretary and said the Red Cross was trying to reach him. He called immediately, thinking there might have been a problem with a recent blood donation. The caseworker scheduled a meeting so she could deliver the message from his father.
Brandon last saw his father more than 10 years ago. He had been anxious about his father’s feelings until he received this communication. He hopes to see his father again to “show him the love of God.”
Brandon says he is called to the ministry and is working in a paid internship at his church. He wants to continue service to humanity.
To learn more about the reconnecting families work of the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies.
For more stories from the American Red Cross in South Carolina, please click here.