[Entrepreneurs Impact 18] Journey Rosita Leeflang

Childhood of Rosita Leeflang

Rosita Leeflang is a journalist, an entrepreneur, and most recently, a junior historian. She was born on July 14th, the daughter of Erwin Leeflang and Elisabeth Lynch. Growing up, Rosita lived in a home with her mother, who looked after seven children: three girls and four boys, one of whom has since died. Rosita frequently uses the word “IMPOSSIBLE” in her presentations. She translates it as “I am possible” and uses it as inspiration to prove to others that she can achieve their seemingly impossible goals. 

She enjoys reading, traveling, listening to music, traveling with friends, and interacting with people in person. Rosita was raised in Flora-A and had a colorful upbringing. Her mother constantly met the needs of the kids despite having little money. The youngsters treasured the clothing Elisabeth sewed every day and thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. Playing outside was a common part of childhood, and there was always food on the table. When they could afford it, she inspired and encouraged the kids to do well in school. Rosita grew up spending her summers with her father, a builder, who frequently brought her along for the ride in the back of his pickup truck. She climbed trees in the forest with her brothers and the boys from the neighborhood. That was one of the fun parts of her childhood.

Rosita attended St. Jozef Girls’ School on Johan Adolf Pengelstraat, which later became a school that was open for everyone. She attended the Algemene Middelbare School (AMS) after finishing her studies at the W.J. Ritfeld School. At the elementary school she had the honored role of a traffic warden, stopping cars so children could cross safely. Another fond memory were the annual trips to Kraka. Rosita was also part of the school choir. On December 8, 1982, the choir was scheduled to perform at a school choir festival in the Ismay van Wilgen Sports Hall. Her mother had made a beautiful blue ball dress for her. Determining to take part in the festival, she decided to walk to school that morning after discovering that no buses were running. She was sent back home by a woman who stopped her along the road. She returned with tears in her eyes, to find her mother relieved to see her after the devastating events during that period. Despite being told, she didn’t quite understand what was going on at the time.

She experienced secondary school as a great experience as well. Her high school at the Algemene Middelbare School (AMS) was so fun that it took her 5 years to complete a 3-year program. She made lifelong friends there. Her motto in school has always been to finish what she started.

Her Impact

Rosita’s very first job came just 2 weeks after she graduated from high school. She started at the headquarters of Hakrinbank in the foreign department. In those 8 months, she discovered that working in a financial institution was not her calling. Rosita and finances have a love-hate relationship. Despite others considering her crazy for leaving what was seen as a good job at the time, she decided to quit after 8 months. She then moved to the Pater Ahlbrinck Foundation; a non-governmental organization dedicated to the development of people in the interior. During her time there, the organization worked extensively with Haitians migrating to Suriname to live and work, helping them find their way in the country. 

Through this close collaboration, she gained more respect for those coming to Suriname from abroad. Rosita spent a year with the foundation and then found herself unemployed for two months. During this period, her mother advised her to apply to the Suriname Broadcasting Foundation (SRS), as her mother listened to SRS all day, every day. This led to a heated debate between them, which her mother eventually won. Two months later, her mother, in true Surinamese fashion as Rosita describes her, asked about the status of her application and whether she intended to follow through. After following up with SRS, it turned out they never received Rosita’s application letter. She had to start the process over and write a new letter. Eventually, she was hired on the condition of two months without pay since she was new to the job. Within a month, Rosita proved she had sufficient skills to be paid. This marked her first media job. About 25 years ago, she was asked to present the news at the General Television Station (ATV). Later, she was invited to work at one of the largest newspapers at the time, ‘De Ware Tijd,’ where she remained for eleven years. At one point, the director of De Ware Tijd decided that all freelancers should work from home, allowing her a lot of free time. Roseternal Media was the name she had long envisioned for her company. After registering it with the KKF, she ventured into entrepreneurship without fully understanding what it entailed.

Due to her passion for organizing, she transformed it into a production company. In 2025, Roseternal Media will celebrate its 15th anniversary. With her experience as a journalist, Rosita heard many complaints about disorganization in Suriname and misconceptions about how things were run. Through Roseternal Media, she aims to showcase the existence of quality organizations in Suriname capable of producing high caliber shows, concerts, and events, proving that professionalism is indeed present. Roseternal Media also contributes to Suriname by giving Kaseko a place in the music industry locally and globally. Rosita believes entrepreneurs should give back to the community and actively engages with youth, a longstanding commitment. Initially unintentional, her efforts to promote Kaseko led her to pursue further studies and encourage young people to explore their history. Apart from her media work, Rosita is deeply involved in social work through her foundation, Develop Art Foundation (DAF), and collaborates with friends on projects related to the environment and Kaseko through the Kaseko Foundation. Additionally, she volunteers at the St. Petrus & Paulus Cathedral Basilica within her Roman Catholic community, finding solace and balance amidst life’s demands. Rosita believes in listening to her body’s signals, knowing when to slow down and recharge by playing records, listening to music, and engaging in other activities. This balance helps her navigate her projects and find peace within herself.


Growth through Experience

In the 15 years of Roseternal Media’s existence, the organization stands on two pillars. Firstly, it provides assistance in organizing various events, whether they be seminars, workshops, cultural, or corporate activities. Additionally, it hosts its own events. One notable event is the International Jazz Day on April 30th, which her company held annually for about 8 years until COVID. Since 2014, they have also organized the Sranan “Fosten’ Fesa” every year on December 13th, which is a Kaseko festival, among other events that they find enjoyable.

One of Roseternal Media’s highlights was the first edition of “Fosten’ Fesa,” which was a resounding success. The show sold out within ten days, and there was continuous demand for more. Another significant moment was when they visited the organization that manages International Jazz Day in Washington D.C. They knew nothing about Suriname or its existence, which was an eye-opener for them. This visit was instrumental in establishing Jazz Day as an annual event. Another highlight was the third consecutive sold-out edition of “Fosten’ Fesa” in 2023. Roseternal Media has collaborated with various artists on exciting projects.

In 2014, Rosita decided to organize a two-day festival, stepping outside her comfort zone to tackle the challenge. Unfortunately, she was not well-acquainted with the market at the time and made some misjudgments. The creditors gave her two options: either they could imprison her without receiving their money, or they could arrange a payment plan that she would adhere to. Fortunately, these were people who believed in her and gave her the opportunity to repay. She kept her word.

Expenses had to be paid even though the show did not generate any income. This situation prevented Rosita from traveling or enjoying herself for about two years. Her finances were solely dedicated to debt repayment, rent, and bills. During this period, she almost fell into depression, but friends helped her through it, for which she is forever grateful. After settling the last bill, she had to start from scratch again, including saving money, something she hadn’t been able to do for years, partly due to the 2016 recession.

Rosita claims that if she hadn’t learned that lesson, she might approach certain things differently today. It was a significant experience to go through alone. However, entrepreneurship always benefits from having a sparring partner to navigate the rollercoaster. For Rosita, it was important to take responsibility and do what is needed to be done to hold her head high in Suriname.


Closing Remarks from Rosita

Trust your intuition. Your intuition is your primary guide. Dare to take risks as well. Although it may sound contradictory, it’s important to rely on your energy above all. Also trust the energy around you and the energy people give. These are messages too. There’s always a reason for them, so let them guide you. If your energy doesn’t align with someone else’s, it means you shouldn’t collaborate with that person. This doesn’t necessarily mean having arguments or not talking. Working together or carrying out a project could lead to problems. So, trust you, your instincts and your energy in all you do.


Entrepreneur’s Impact

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