Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
He has changed the lives of many, not because he has much, but because he prefers to uplift his community using the little that he has.
With modest equipment at his mine in Globe and Phoenix area just a stone’s throw from the Kwekwe central business district, 39-year-old Mr Phillip Kadhani ekes a living from mining.
While most miners in the city are known for leading flashy lives, his is modest.
Unlike other miners who fence off their facilities, even hiring security services to protect them, Mr Kadhani has empowered women and the vulnerable by opening up his mine for them – some extract the mineral, others operate vending stalls and cook sadza for sale at the mine.
He could be driving a top-of-the-range vehicle but he drives a modest Mitsubishi Chariot. He could have bought or built a nice house in one of the leafy suburbs of Kwekwe, but he remains glued to the dusty parts of GnP, as Globe and Phoenix is popularly referred to.
He has grown to become a darling of GnP owing to his helping hand. He employs 20 full time workers at the mine. More than 100 families also benefit from the mine as he allows them access so that they can also eke a living. He regularly donates to the needy in the area.
If testimonies about Mr Kadhani are anything to go by, then indeed, he is a poor philanthropist.
Ms Sarah Adams who hails from Globe and Phoenix Mine Compound shared how Mr Kadhani transformed her life by offering her an opportunity to prospect at his mine.
“After the closure of Homestake Mine, things were not the same for us. Things turned for the worse as we could not even afford paying rentals. Power was disconnected from the compound because we failed to pay as we had no source of income. But as soon as his mine started doing well, he roped in people from the compound so that they could do various jobs at his mine so that we can earn a living,” said Ms Adams.
She said besides working as a miner at the mine, she also started a vending business at the mine.
Mr Learnmore Chizhande had lost hope and moved to Mbizo suburb where he is now residing but Kadhani gave him hope.
“When we started the project, we were three but later I left after we failed to reach the gold belt. But he never tired, he gave it his all and by the time things started happening, he looked for me. I was shocked because I never thought he still remembered me. I am very grateful,” said Mr Chizhande.
Another Globe and Phoenix resident, Mrs Babra Kahondo hailed Mr Kadhani for helping restore power after ZESA had cut them over outstanding bills.
“As a compound we had failed to raise money to pay ZESA. After he got money at his mine, he could have gone on to buy an expensive car, but the first thing that came to his mind was how he could help people in his compound. He at times pays rentals for the elderly and gives them food. Women empowerment and promotion of youths projects is his main agenda,” said Mrs Kahondo.
It all started when Mr Kadhani was working as a security guard at Homestake Mine before he retired.
“I came to Kwekwe in 2002 from Mhondoro were I stayed with my father. But after he passed on, I had to come to Kwekwe where my mother worked as a manager at Globe and Phoenix bar. I used to survive on menial jobs until 2010 when I got a job as a security guard at Homestake Mine which is just nearby. But before that I worked as a security guard at various companies,” narrated the soft-spoken Mr Kadhani.
After two years, he left the security company and formed his own, Vee and Lee which won a tender within Homestake Mine.
He rejoined the mine as the head of ore mobilisation, responsible for monitoring all the movements of ore extracted at the mine.
“I could not continue working after Homestake was liquidated. I was awarded a tribute by the mine to conduct activities at one of their sites. But due to lack of resources, I could not produce. But as we speak, we are now conducting mining activities. Of course, I have my own workers there but there are some people from Globe and Phoenix who come to conduct mining activities at my place. I don’t have a problem with that since serving the community is what we are known for as Zanu-PF,” he said.
But what makes him tick?
“It’s not that I have much, but usually the little I have I share with the elderly and some vulnerable in our community. As you know Globe and Phoenix was a mining compound and most people there are living under harsh conditions and I simply want a better life for them. I believe in us sharing the small cake,” he said.
Mr Kadhani was elected chairperson of the Globe and Phoenix Residents Association, which, under his leadership, has mobilised resources to pay the more than $3million ZESA debt.
“As you know these houses were left behind by the company and most people are struggling to make ends meet. As such the debt ballooned to over $3million. Before I came in, there were some members who used to fleece the residents. But after I came in, I pooled resources and we approached ZESA for a payment plan and now we are left with just over a million,” he said.
Regularly he donates food hampers to the elderly in the neighbourhood.
His philanthropic works have led to people urging him to run for councillor come 2023 elections.
“If they speak, I will listen. If they want me, I will not hesitate. It is the will of the people that puts us in positions so that we serve them,” said Mr Kadhani.