MATHETES Chihwai, better known as Matthew C Martino, is a 22-year-old Zimbabwean film producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has gained prominence in the aviation industry through his pilots manual Lets Fly and Lets Fly Academy an aviation consultancy and training firm.
His charitable trust MMBF Trust provides grants and sponsorship for young people in arts and aviation.
Currently residing in the Unitred Kingdom and originally hailing from Bulawayo where he attended primary school, Martino has over the years shown great innovation and is certainly becoming a force to reckon with internationally.
NewsDay (ND) recently caught up with him (MM) [in an interview] and this is what he had to say:
ND: What influenced the stage name Matthew Martino which seems to be hugely known as compared to your birth name?
MM: Matthew Martino was a name I invented, it all started where I was called Matthew from school at Shenfield High School as people couldn’t pronounce my birth name Mathetes so very quickly Matthew became a name I answered to, when I began acting I was looking for a stage name that would be easy for people to remember and one that wasn’t a common name, I then decided to go with Matthew Martino and the name has stuck ever since, I’ve gone on to use it in producing films and my two books that I’ve written Lets Fly and Go For It.
ND: So is it actually a name change or just a stage name?
MM: Matthew C. Martino is purely a stage name and pen name; I would never change my name as I’m very proud of my family the Chihwais.
ND: When and why did you move to UK?
MM: I moved to the UK in 2005 with my mom, dad and two sisters. We moved to the UK because my dad had got a job there so he wanted us the kids to study in the UK. I was going to travel to USA to further my studies there but I’ve since settled in the UK and I’m still proud to be a Zimbabwean citizen.
ND: Having been a producer and actor initially what then inspired you to go for flight/ flying lessons?
MM: It was quite a huge jump and everyone has always asked me how do you link the two and the truth is that I always had dreams of being a pilot. I remember from my early years walking to school in Bulawayo and looking up at planes flying by but at that stage it seemed impossible. I took on flight lessons
when I began losing the spark for acting and I knew I had to try and go for flying.
ND: What does MMBF stand for and describe its functions.
MM: MMBF stands for Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund. Its my charitable trust that I formed to empower and support aspiring actors and filmmakers.
We also offer grants and sponsorship to aspiring pilots and aviation students. My key aim for the MMBF Trust was to give hope to the future generations and be able to support others. I too received a lot of support in my early years to get to where I am and at times it’s very easy to sort of think ‘it’s not my problem’ but I would really like to see more success stories especially from Africa.
ND: Of your two books what in particular inspired the one titled Go for It which is on the business side of life.
MM: Go For It is a business start-up guide for young people who want to run their own businesses or aspiring entrepreneurs. I was inspired by my own failures and, one of my first ventures F5 Air went into liquidation just under a year after I began trading and I learnt a lot from some of these failures which I decided to put down in a book to motivate and educate others.
ND: How then do you balance various careers and your personal and private life? (State all your qualifications)?
MM: It’s hard to manage everything, I have a strong team behind me who help manage my day to day ventures and the team at MMBF Trust are working tirelessly to make it happen. In my private time I enjoy golfing, travelling and watching movies!
My Netflix addiction is going from strength to strength. My qualifications include Diploma in Business, Diploma in Marketing, Certificate in Management Accounting, Level 4 Health and Social Care, Certificate in Aviation Foundation Studies. Currently I’m studying towards my BA in Business through distance learning.