ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, the flamboyant businessman and parliamentarian Phillip Chiyangwa is owner of arguably the largest and most expensive residential property after State House.
Chiyangwa recently allowed a Zimbabwean online property magazine, ExpoProperties into his mansion…and they spent half a day navigating through the myriad lounges and bedrooms that are furnished with exquisite items from round the globe.
Additional reporting ExpoProperties
Listen to Phillip Chiyangwa Speak about his mansion amongst other riches.
HOW PHILLIP CHIYANGWA MADE HIS WEALTH AND MONEY
LIKE or hate him, PHILIP CHIYANGWA (PC) is one of the most known Zimbabwean black businessmen to emerge in independent Zimbabwe, who features prominently in Africa’s Richest Black People List. His meteoric rise from a barefoot and spike haired vegetable vendor in the dusty streets of Hartley (now Chegutu) in Rhodesia to a flamboyant businessman, property developer and politician in Zimbabwe has never been understood by many, who have more often than not, claimed that his wealth is ill-gotten. Daring and unshaken in his spirited quest to get richer and richer, Mr Chiyangwa — who says he has a PhD in Common Sense — has courted controversy on his road to riches. Features Editor 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.
IG: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
IG: Is this when you formed CIA?
PC: Yes, its actual name is Commercial Industrial Agency. We supplied stationary and furniture to rural schools and institutions and by 1984, I had started manufacturing my own furniture and selling it. My business then grew with the economy. Business was not difficult; there were opportunities for all enterprising young Zimbabweans.
In the 1990s, I became the first black to own a Betting Licence and the whites were after me. They wanted no black person in that industry. I was minting money; I had 43 branches throughout the country and employed more than 183 people.
IG: What did they do to you?
PC: Mashonaland and Matabeleland Turf Clubs were after me, man. They were white-dominated and there were an enclave of classic white racists, diabolic and protective of their interests. They spent three years fighting me. Suddenly, I was fighting all white people because I had gotten deep into their enclave.
I touched their raw nerve and white law firms came after me big time. Some blacks are apologetic to the whites because they don’t know these people. Most of them are coconuts for the whites to crush and eat. For whites to respect you, you must know that you are black, good and equal and as hungry for money as them.
IG: What can you tell us about Affirmative Action Group?
PC: I had enough reason to enter and fight agriculture, the white man’s nerve centre after my ordeal with the turf clubs. The only way was black empowerment and this is how we mooted AAG with the late Peter Pamire. I attacked them where it hurts most and founded AAG, 17 years ago. AAG has done extremely well for black Zimbabweans. It was the entrance of blacks into the private sector.
I am also a strategist.
IG: How did you leave politics, was it your involvement in the so-called Tsholotsho debacle?
PC: After MDC got into Parliament through the backdoor by taking advantage of the relaxation and infighting within Zanu-PF, the internal struggles took their toll on a lot of us. Some ended up cooking stories about me. I was caught up in that. Some said I was leading the Tsholotsho team. That led to my unfortunate exit from politics. I had to come to terms with the machinations of politics and I forgive those small-minded people who created the story for me.
IG: How have you received the Inclusive Government?
PC: After the formation of the inclusive Government I have been able to analyse the total ineptitude in dealing with the MDC-T. Tsvangirai has a collection of touts, bad apples, people who have failed in life yet to be in Zanu PF one has to have a distinction of competitive edge. Criminal perverts and excretes collected into MDC and Tsvangirai buries himself into the pus.
It is common cause that the Prime Minister is not among the most learned and he talks about me while addressing Harare councillors, without getting the facts right. I have more money anybody has ever come across and he said I was a crook. No one who has associated with Tsvangirai has ever made money like me. I challenge them.
IG: That brings us to your land deal with Harare City Council. What really happened?
PC: This was an unfortunate incident that was cooked up and made believable for the people of Zimbabwe. I wonder if the MDC-T can govern.
An incompetent assembly of people, who had absolutely no idea of law, facts of the deal gathered and decided to deal with Chiyangwa of Zanu-PF.
Firstly, the council was broke and I gave them money for salaries, US$7,1 million and they gave me land but as usual, this is a sign of the poverty in MDC-T. Tsvangirai brought into councils a baggage of corrupt councillors. We are now locked up with this kind of councillors, bereft of ideas and procedure. They sat and discussed my issue without getting in touch or inviting those who crafted the deal. It was a land swoop deal and they still owe me a lot of land, ask Tendai Mahachi the town clerk. I gave them 22 ha of land and they gave me 17 ha. Stupidity took over reasoning. If they owe me a public apology and if they pay little money I will forgive them. I have an affidavit from Mahachi on the deal.
IG: What positions to you currently hold?
PC: I am the president of the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe, Vice president of the Zimbabwe Construction Industry Council which incorporates Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers, Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association, Institute of Architects of Zimbabwe and Real Estates Institute of Zimbabwe, among others. There are seven of them. Of course I am the founder and chairman of Native Investments Africa Group.
IG: In your life, which incident do you regret most?
PC: When I lost my daughter. She was my first child and she drowned in a swimming pool together with my friend’s daughter at Jameson High School in Kadoma. Apparently, I had influenced my friend Isaiah Chabveka to send his daughter to the same school with mine. Both girls drowned. It was very sad. It was a double tragedy.
IG: What is the future of your business empire?
PC: The future is to diversify; there are a lot of foreigners coming for our diamonds and other minerals. We need to look into that area. The housing project is being reviewed so that we provide cheaper stands at around $25 per month for 30 years. The poor must have access to decent accommodation. This is what we want.
I am a trendsetter, I want to take advantage of the situation and look at econometrics. I want to write my autobiography, I want to release two books on how to make money.
They are coming onto the market soon. I think it is easy to make money; there is nothing scientific about making money. I have a doctorate in common sense; I start where academics and professionals end.
Philip Chiyangwa on winning Tourism Personality of The Year Award
Philip Chiyangwa's US$2,3 million private jet
Flamboyant business mogul and entertainer Philip Chiyangwa is about to add an aircraft to his fleet as the tycoon revealed that a Challenger 600 jet has been purchased from Spain.
Chiyangwa, who is one of the best known black businessmen to emerge from independent Zimbabwe, told us that a deposit has already been paid and the jet will be coming soon.
"The jet will be coming soon since I have already paid a deposit for it. The jet is called a Challenger 600 and is from Spain. Since all the logistics have been met in no time it will be in your midst," said Chiyangwa. However, he could not be drawn into revealing the exact amount of the jet but research by this reporter revealed that Chiyangwa could have paid a deposit of around US$1,1 million as the jet costs approximately US$2,3 million.
The new acquisition will join an array of some of the latest fleet of wheels that the business magnate possesses as he is also a proud owner of a Rolls Royce, Bentley, Land Cruiser, Range Rover, a Mercedes Benz AMG and many more.
Chiyangwa, a sober-minded avid admirer of Gucci sun glasses, and Rolex wrist watch, features prominently in Africa's Richest Black People List. He owns various properties including a sprawling 25-bedroom mansion in the leafy Borrowdale suburb. He had a meteoric rise from a barefoot and spike-haired vegetable vendor in the dusty streets of Chegutu to a flamboyant businessman, property developer and politician.
Daring and unshaken in his spirited quest to get richer and richer, Chiyangwa, who says he has a PhD in Common Sense, has courted controversy on his road to riches. He has never been understood by many, who have more often than not, claimed that his wealth is ill-gotten, as assertion which Chiyangwa himself has vehemently dismissed in various interviews with the press.
Challenger 600 was originally designed by the same developer of the Learjets, Bill Lear, and named the LearStar 600. After selling exclusive rights of the design, the LearStar 600 became known as the Challenger 600. This heavy jet accommodates 10 passengers and has a full avatory.
The Challenger 600 is more like an airliner than a private jet. Comparable to Boeing 707, it offers much more cabin space than any other similar aircraft. It is quiet, fairly economical, and handles well. Pilots love to fly it, and passengers love the spacious, comfortable cabin and transcontinental range. -
I’m the real Denzel Washington: Chiyangwa
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 00:00
flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa is never short of surprises. Following his debut appearance in "The Gentleman", it appears the overtly flashy businessman now wants to spread his tentacles into showbiz full time. Arts and Entertainment Editor Ruth Butaumocho(RB) caught up with Chiyangwa(PC) to speak about his life, business interests and political future and, of course, his recent new baby - showbiz.
RB: In the last few years, you have been unusually quiet; can you tell us what you have been up to?
PC: I have been refocusing my whole life and paying attention to family, given that I am now a grandfather and needed to get closer to God as well.
RB: Following the dollarisation of the economy, there have been a lot of fundamental challenges in the economy, where a lot of people are actually saying life is much more difficult now in the era of the US dollar than when people where using the local currency.
Putting it in the layman's terms, some people are saying it has been difficult for many to lay their hands on the dollar. How have you managed to stay afloat?
PC: Financial challenges should not be mental challenges, it is indeed a time to build true value and extend the same given the prevailing sanctions mode which has given rise to serious innovations which I am champion.
The situation bedevilling Zimbabwe requires constant innovation but thanks to the same, we are not victims of the economic contagion which naturally comes with full economic engagement, a case in point is that of the eurozone crisis.
By the grace of God, sanctions have saved us from carrying other people's problems like what most countries are doing.
RB: You are a renowned businessman, who is into property, car hiring and a host of other things. You recently revealed that you now want to get involved in showbiz. What inspired you to venture into the arts?
PC: I am a product of the arts and culture industry, in fact business is showbiz, the difference is in how it's presented and perceived, sitting where I am, Oliver Mtukudzi, Sulumani Chimbetu are as good as Denzel Washington, Chris Brown and Philip Chiyangwa. We are all brands in business.
Arts is a platform to shine, transform and space for mass interaction and transaction.
RB: I believe that it was in the locally produced movie, "The Gentleman" that you made a debut in film production. What has been the response from the public, especially those who had an opportunity to watch the film?
PC: The response is overwhelming and humbling. As you know I featured briefly but had an impact role that gave appetite to fully explore more opportunities.
RB: You recently announced that you will appearing in yet another movie, "Mr Roger's Big Score", which can best be described as the sequel to "The Gentleman", can you tell us more about your role and how far you have gone with production?
PC: I am the real "Denzel Washington" not "Ticky" and this is destined for an Oscar nomination cast out in Zimbabwe and South Africa, it's to show you an action-packed, true-crime movie.
We will be on location dependent on weather this festive season period, but that should not be a problem since Zimbabwe boasts the best climate in the world.
RB: Still on that issue, how much money have you sunk into the production of the film?
PC: We have and are still seeking enough resources to ensure that quality and storyline is world class - you know if you want to be "Denzel" do it the Denzel way, no expenses should be spared. Hazvidi zvechinzara nzara!
RB: But Comrade, those in the know will attest that the arts industry in Zimbabwe does not pay. It surely boggles my mind, why a businessman of repute like you would want to spend hours, reading a script and hours in front of rolling cameras, at a time you should be making money and attending to important deals?
PC: Value is what you bring to the table. The fact that I am doing this should be enough affirmation that it is something worthwhile and valuable.
Inga munondiziva handiite magame ecent cent. Leadership is about overcoming fear, in other words, fearless people are true leaders, and this is exactly what I am trying to do.
A good name is better than riches, going by your doubts, I will go into my mansion and be chauffeur-driven in my Rolls Royce.
Meanwhile drive past many who have nothing and continue to acquire serious education which thus without those who take the lead see lives wasted and do not create opportunity, which if not created can lead to destruction of living standards (the destruction of my property, because of anger which is driven by mere denial of access to the same people)
You know as I do that, the arts industry has many graduates who partake media studies, film production, theatre and so forth.
These people now need a serious and viable platform to express the talents like what has happened in India (Bollywood), USA (Hollywood), in Zimbabwe we have to have our own identity. Success means different things to different people, in this instance my success is through creating access for others, in fact true and sustainable prosperity should be a rising tide that lifts all Boats.
Kana tasumuka, ngatisimuke tese !
RB: There are also schools of thought, which are saying that your involvement in the arts sector is a way of boosting your political career following your re-admittance into Zanu-PF a few weeks ago. What is your take on that one?
PC: My political career needs no boost, when I should run for any office, it will be the spirit of national service in giving back to a country that has given me so much more. Remember, I successfully ran for public office as MP for Chinhoyi in 2000 without being "Denzel".
RB: Zimbabwean arts industry is heavily under-funded, and the few organisations that are still up and running are doing so with international donor funding.
Artistes continue to live as paupers and yet they would have made their name in the arts industry. What do you think is the long-term solution to the problem of funding in the arts sector?
PC: The long-term solution is to turn arts into a formidable industry of repute and take its players notches up, no wonder ndavamo.
RB: Your involvement in the arts industry in addition to your already existing portfolios (businessman, politician, leader in the indigenisation drive), presents a complicated situation to a lot of people out there Comrade. What would you want to be known for?
PC: I would want to be known as a person who lived well in understanding of bringing total commitment to everything that God and good fortune have brought my way.
RB: At the beginning of this year, you publicly announced that you would be buying a private jet, when are we expecting to see the new baby?
PC: I bought one in 1998, a twin-engine 10-seater Cessna, sold it in 2003. In 2011, the Zimbabwean skies are very clear at the moment, the first sight you have of a new bigger jet will be "Tsivo".
RB: People are wondering what happened to your life of bling, nice cars, nice clothes, nice houses and beautiful women??????
PC: God has blessed me with all spiritual blessings and has given me dominion over earthly issues, I am still reigning in life and wisdom.