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Interview: My philanthropic work was prophesied: Chivayo

Local News

FLAMBOYANT businessman Wicknell Chivayo has over the past few months taken over social media platforms by storm after splashing out on luxury cars for musicians, members of the Johanne Masowe and those who rallied behind Zanu PF in the last harmonised elections.

NewsDay Weekender senior reporter Freeman Makopa (ND) caught up with Chivayo (WC) on his philanthropic journey.

Below are the excerpts.

ND: Who is Sir Wicknell Chivayo?

WC: My personal background has over the years become common cause, particularly in the past few months. I was born Wicknell Munodaani Chivayo some 41 years ago on November 22, 1982 and grew up in the rural area of Gandami, Chivhu. I was born and raised by an exceptional woman, my late mother Canisia Chivayo, who remains my pillar of strength and guardian angel in heaven. I also had the privilege, unfortunately for only 10 years of my life, to learn about responsibility, courage and leadership from my late father Isaac Mathias Chivayo. He remains my hero until today. As far as education is concerned, I attended Dudley Hall Primary School and Churchill Boys High School. I must say I was exceptionally good in school, but due to acute financial limitations at the time, I could not progress with my studies. It appeared a curse at the time, but I later realised how much of a blessing it was since I had to look for a job at a local bus company to contribute in taking care of my then widowed mother. I was employed as a wages clerk and had the uncommon opportunity to understand the value of money and how business works from a very young age.

I would say these difficulties of life propelled my hunger for success. I later on ventured into a number of business attempts, some which failed, asi ndaitungamirwa naMweya  (The Holy Spirit guided me) and it is by God’s grace that I now find myself as a very successful businessman with multi-million-dollar projects across Africa and the world.

ND: What inspired your philanthropic journey?

WC: It is a widely known fact that Sir Wicknell is a devout member of the Johane Masowe EChishanu apostolic sect and I am proud of that. Kumasowe tinoti chinotanga rudo, kotevera tsitsi nekunamata. This is also biblical, even though we do not read it kumasowe. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

So my philanthropic journey is anchored, motivated and inspired by the need to show love for others. I believe that if I can bless others through giving, God will richly bless me in my own personal or business endeavours. Love is the answer.

ND: Can we say your Christian background contributed to your philanthropic work?

WC: Without a shadow of doubt. My apostolic journey began in 2003 after going through a very trying episode in my life. It became my turning point when I realised that life without faith is empty. So I haven’t looked back since then. Some look at chipostori kunge chakazvidzika, but that is where the revelation of life is given. Mwari mumwe chete sezuva so whether you worship in a temple, church or in an open field, God will always hear the earnest prayers of a righteous person.

Chipostori is my life because through it, I have seen the hand of God. I have managed to secure multi-million-dollar deals through prayer more than through anything else. I have faced so many threats to my life asi nechiporofita cha Manuwere, ndakaikunda nyika. So, I always set aside my Fridays exclusively for prayer and worship kumasowe Mwari achitiitira zvakanaka.

ND: What values and principles have led to your success?

WC: Prayer, hard work, discipline and determination. These values have consistently made me realise considerable success. Coupled to this, I am always eager to learn more and understand how the world operates. But in all of this, love is the greatest. When you show love, unimaginable doors will open and success will be guaranteed.

ND: There are questions on the source of your wealth. Are you at liberty to disclose some of your business ventures?

WC: Let me preface my answer by making you and your readership to understand that wealth is a by-product of prayer, hard work and good investment choices. On such a foundation, one must also have good social capital and professional advice. I have deliberately started with prayer because all wealth comes from God, who created us to inherit and conquer the world. Baba Johane vakati nyika ino ngainamate. Prayer has, therefore, opened doors which I never imagined can be opened.

Using the opportunities given to me through prayer, I have become a managing director and shareholder at Intratrek Holdings Zimbabwe, a company that ventures into renewable energy development and hydro and thermal power plant construction on behalf of various governments and public institutions across Africa. The company participates in multi-million-dollar energy development tenders and has regional presence in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Wealth is also determined by the environment in which one operates. I am glad that in Zimbabwe, the second republic under the visionary leadership of His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a business environment has been created that is awash with investment opportunities. There have been so many initiatives by government to support local business people to harness our God-given natural resources and these must be exploited to achieve success.

I also have vast business interests in petroleum and logistics in sub-Saharan Africa. I am sure this gives you a glimpse of my source of wealth.

ND: Tell us a bit about your association with Zanu PF; is it something that you started when you were old or you come from a family which supported the ruling party?

WC: Well, I would say it is a blend of both. It is an undeniable fact that under Zanu PF and its leadership, Zimbabwe fought a protracted war of liberation which ultimately ushered in the political and economic independence that we all enjoy today. Had it not been for the revolutionary party, would we be enjoying the freedom we have today or the empowerment of black indigenous people? Certainly not. So, from a principal point of view, I was raised and embraced the importance of Zanu PF as a liberator and the sole reason for the freedoms we all celebrate today.

This important fact aside, kuMasowe tinotenda kuti vatungamiriri vanogadzwa nedenga. Every form of leadership is ordained by God and it is our individual duty to support our leadership. In any case, Zanu PF is the only party that has demonstrated consistency in its youth and women empowerment policies as seen by how the First Lady’s Angel of Hope Foundation is actively involved in various initiatives. It is the only party that has competently managed our economy even in the face of illegal sanctions imposed by the West that were invited by opposition political detractors. Since the birth of the second republic, our economy has witnessed unprecedented growth in the mining, processing and infrastructure development sectors under the visionary leadership of the President. I see no reason why I should not be associated with Zanu PF considering all the remarkable policies and programmes that they have undertaken.

ND: Why do you think it is important to give back from your pocket instead of your business?

WC: It is important to note that there is always a broad distinction between my business operations and my personal decisions. Every business is required or at least expected to operate profitably. Basic business principles observe that every business must incur the barest minimum operating costs and maximise on profit margins to increase revenue. Using business funds for personal reasons will obviously increase the costs to the company and render its operations unsustainable.

So, it is from my personal savings and other earnings that I can choose to be generous and undertake various charitable work. What I have been blessed with to this day is not of my own abilities, but by the grace of God. Blessing other people through what I have been given by God can never deplete or dent my pocket. Showing love is like sowing seeds in a field. You reap a hundred-fold when the field eventually bears fruit. So long as ndichipfeka nguwo chena, Baba Johane varinyenyedzi yangu, handichoboke, hazviite!

ND: You once revealed that your philanthropic work was prophesied some years back, can you tell us a bit about the prophecy?

WC: Inini ndinochengetwa netsanaguro dzekuMasowe. I have received a number of prophecies over my life and one which stands out is that I am going to be a billionaire. Ndakanorara mugomo kuMurehwa praying for the fulfilment of this prophecy and it is coming to pass. I was, however, strictly advised nemweya kuti ndisazofa ndakasiya kubetsera vanhu. So I will never stop helping people as this will also open my blessings in becoming the youngest billionaire in Zimbabwe.

ND: What advice would you like to share with other prosperous businesspeople about giving back to the community?

WC: The truth is that giving cannot be prescribed to anyone, whether prosperous or not. People are at liberty to spend their wealth in the manner they see it fit because in most cases, they would have put in the effort to become prosperous. It’s their right to choose what they do with their money. Giving should be motivated by love and compassion for one another. It doesn’t necessarily follow that once you become prosperous, you are obliged to give. Even those with limited resources can still give out of the abundance of their heart.

In my opinion, what everyone must exercise is having love for one another. Chinotanga rudo whether you are rich or not. So my only advice is that as a people, we must always have compassion towards one another, especially to the less privileged and vulnerable members of our communities such as orphaned children.

ND: Tell us, how do you cope with the celebrity status and the scammers who pretend to be you?

WC: Being a public figure comes with its fair share of complications. For instance, I can hardly walk around in town without attracting a crowd or without random people asking for an Aqua or for cash. Some may even just antagonise me for no reason or hurl insults on social media on the pretext of unfounded allegations. However, I have over the years developed a thick skin as a ghetto boy from Chitungwiza and I am not affected at all by pejorative reactions to my public standing.

Naturally, everyone wants to be associated with success. This probably explains the proliferation of pseudo-accounts purporting to be my social media accounts. Some have even gone to the extent of scamming unsuspecting people to pay them to see me. For some, it has become an occupation. My lifestyle helps them to make headlines and create content on their social media pages. Imagine if I decided to be secretive with my life, their source of income will be heavily compromised. Funny enough, those who peddle falsehoods about me in public go on to secretly beg me for cash gifts under the guise of start-up capital for their projects. I have, however, since made frantic efforts to communicate with all those who follow me on my authentic social media accounts and highlighted fake accounts so that the public at large is not hoodwinked.

ND: How much are you looking forward to spending on your philanthropic journey?

WC: Quite a lot. It’s difficult to even project how much or to what extent the giving will get to. As long as Mweya achitaura, I will keep on giving. This is just the beginning and spending over US$1 500 000 for the church is nothing compared to ngoni dzehupenyu nekurarama dzatinopihwa naBaba Johane. I had previously set a budget of US$3 million to completely transform vatendi veJohanne Masowe, but I will certainly exceed this figure.

ND: Your parting shot

WC: I appreciate the interest by your publication to know more about Sir Wicknell, the multi-millionaire. I look forward to another interview very soon when I become the first billionaire in Zimbabwe under the age of 45. 

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