PICS: All the Chiyangwa ladies, and the Chiyangwa interview » ZOOM Zimbabwe News
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PICS: All the Chiyangwa ladies, and the Chiyangwa interview

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A PHOTO of businessman Phillip Chiyangwa’s daughters Vanessa and Michelle with their mom Elizabeth and their grandmother is trending on social media platforms.

Two days ago, another Chiyangwa photo was trending on social media.

The generations-old photo of President Emmerson Mnangagwa the Zvimba South legislator Philip Chiyangwa rocking heyday fashion gear got the internet talking since Monday.

The affluent Chiyangwa outs himself across as a self-made millionaire who started off selling tomatoes in the Mashonaland West town of Chegutu back in the day.

We reproduce a Chiyangwa interview below which acts as an eye-opener to one of the most flamboyant business people in post-independent Zimbabwe.

In the interview, Phillip Chiyangwa was talking to Isdore Guvamombe of the Sunday Mail.

Phillip Chiyangwa was born on the 3rd of February 1959 in Chegutu, to Divaris Makaharis and Marita Mandivenga. He was born in a family of 14. An entrepreneur and business icon of note, Mr Phillip Chiyangwa is a founder and operator of several businesses including a listed company.

Isdore Guvamombe (IG) talks to Mr Chiyangwa (PC) about his upbringing, Business Empire, wealth and the future.

IG: Who is Philip Chiyangwa?

PC: I am a businessman, who has gone through a long way. I did not get my wealth yesterday. I got it through years of hard work, investment, reinvestment and strategic planning.

I am Christian but I must say these things are not manna from heaven. Where others see disasters and problems, I see opportunities. Even when I diversify, I remain focused. My mother Marita taught me to be astute and to be an entrepreneur from pamusika, the vegetable market. She taught me to buy and sell and my father taught me to cast visions and to stay focused. That is me.

IG: People say you are a crook . . .

PC: No, no, no! They are mad. If I stole a cent from anyone or anyone’s mother, grandmother or so, they should come and claim it. Kana ndakabira mai vemunhu kana tete kana mbuya vake ngavauye vatore because I now have the money, I have the money! My money is clean.

When people are spiting me or sleeping, I am thinking hard and strategising to make more money. I have a doctorate in common sense, where academics and professional end, is where I start.

HOW did you make your money?

PC: There is no magic in making money. You must characterise money as your friend. As blacks we have over the years believed that no one makes clean money. There is no magic in making money.

They think money is difficult to make and that money is for those who have it already and that is wrong. If you have a problem with money it’s you because as for me, I have the money and I don’t have a problem with money.

In many homes people fight over small money and how then do they expect money to visit them when they fight over small money? If you value money and you wish to create and accumulate wealth, you must be able to sacrifice and do things to make it happen. All my investments are in Zimbabwe not outside Zimbabwe. I can export but I remain in Zimbabwe.

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IG: That is a bit philosophical. Anyway, where did you grow up and how?

PC: I was born in what is now Chegutu. You know there is no tarred road in those locations? I grew up in the dust. I was born in a family of 14, same mother, same father and I was number seven, now I am number one. All those senior to me died. My mother was a vendor, a vegetable vendor and she was the first to teach me to buy and sell, which is what I do to make money up to today.

What differs is the scale. My mother sold vegetables, I sell stands and properties. I buy companies and sell, when it becomes necessary. My father was a restrictee, a political detainee in Whawha and Gonakudzingwa. He was in and out of detention for politics.

Early days

I went to school with old people, in Grade three, you would get someone 15 years old and in grade six or seven you would get someone 20 years old. You needed to be clever and it made me clever. In between school I was a vendor helping my mother.

IG: That famous story about your scramble with bigger boys to get to the top of the rural bus and grab vegetables . . .

PC: Ah, that story. Okay, as vendors we would get our vegetables from buses, Dikita, Matambanadzo and Masiyandaita, that came from rural farming areas like Musengezi.

Each time a bus arrived, there was pushing, shoving and jostling among vendors to grab the vegetables first. I was too small and young but I would run for my mother.

The other boys were big and strong so it was a struggle for me to get the vegetables from the bus career for my mother.

One day, I cycled to a place 15 km away and parked by the bus stop and when the buses arrived I paid for all the vegetables and when the buses got to Chegutu, the other vendors were told that they had all been bought by me. I was a rendezvous buyer.

This is how my mother became a wholesaler of vegetables and all vendors would get vegetables from her. It became a norm. This is how my mother managed to send all of us to school, as a vegetable wholesaler.

IG: After school did you ever work for anyone?

PC: Yes, my first job was working as a garden boy for an elderly Portuguese family that had abandoned Mozambique when Samora Machel took over power.

I was later to learn that those are the people who blocked sewer and water pipes in protest of black rule in Mozambique.

Between running their errands and tending their flowers and hedge, I would dream of getting rich.

I would think of having my children growing the same way like I did. Like I said, my father was a restrictee. My situation did not make me despair, it hardened me and made me more ambitious. My poverty inspired me. I always dreamt of getting rich. I knew my situation would change for the better.

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IG: How did you leave?

PC: Cutting hedge as usual, the milky liquid accidentally got into my eyes and the old lady would not understand seeing me rinsing my eyes with water at the tap continuously.

She was enraged and shouted at me so I ran to my mother who took me to the shops and bought milk. She cleaned my eyes with the milk. I never went back.

IG: People say you are not educated, how far did you go?

PC: I am educated. I attended Universal College in Highfield and did bookkeeping, elementary, intermediate and advanced certificates. I did typing too. That was in 1976. In 1977, I did Accounting Machines (NCR and Burroughs) at Commercial Cotcers College, now Zedco; ask the old folk what it means.

It was a special course. I then went to work at York House in Bulawayo, now owned by Mines Minister Cde Obert Mpofu. While there I did an advanced diploma in accounting.

I left in 1980 to join Dunlop Zimbabwe as an Industrial Engineering, Assisted and Work Study Trainee. I learnt the whole process of making a tyre. That time my elder brother, the late David popularly known as Mr Bulk, was working at Chitungwiza Council as a debt collector and he pressurised me to relocate to Harare.

I made seven applications for jobs in Harare and was finally called by Willovale and I shocked them in that interview, where I finished answering questions in a record 15 minutes of the stipulated 30 and I got 100 percent.

I was later to move to Van Leah together with Tichafa Ndoro, who is still Managing Director there and that is where I first met Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, way back in 1982. So all those people who say things about me and Gono don’t know what they are saying, man. I have known him since that time, not yesterday.

Phillip Chiyangwa Cars

IG: When exactly did you go into your own business?

PC: When I left Willowvale for Van Leah, my brother David, had left Chitungwiza Council and was buying and selling cars. I used to market cars for him from my office. I then decided to do my own thing and left.

IG: What did you go into as your first business?

PC: I formed Phids Electric Sounds, a disco that became very popular in Chitungwiza, Musami and St Ignatius and massive promotional work. I managed Hosea Chipanga, the Erosion Band and others. I dominated boxing promotion and wrestling.

I managed the African Boxing Champion, Proud Kilimanjaro Chinembiri, Gilbert Josamu, Ambrose Mlilo, and Langton Tinago. I accompanied Kilimanjaro on his fight with Lennox Lewis, which was a fluke.

I also did accounting books for many black business people who had shops. I felt I should be a businessman.


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