Vincent Gono, Features Editor
FROM rags to riches is not a very strange adage to many.
It is used to describe how through diligence, hard work, perseverance, discipline and a meticulous execution of plans some people have managed to change their stories from the scarcity and humility of poverty to one characterised by opulence.
To some, that change occurs at a very late stage in life while some unfortunate ones get delayed in achieving their dreams till the end of their days on earth.
There are also some that are born into families that know no poverty but that is certainly not part of the group that Mr Zibusiso Ndlovu of Mawabeni in Umzingwane District belongs to.
He is youthful. Yes. He is young.
Just 34 years of age but no longer belongs to the league of most of his age mates in terms of possessions and maturity of vision.
Mr Ndlovu started off as an airtime vendor but now owns a supermarket and a hardware shop at Mawabeni business centre — Skhulu Supermarket and Hardware — after he got inspiration from Mr Ellias Njani of Njani Brothers.
He has a 200-hectare farm in Fort Rixon with 100 Brahman cattle part of which he is breeding.
He is a proud member of the Zimbabwe Brahman Association and said his project dovetails with President Mnangagwa’s cattle project that he has been encouraging the youths to pursue.
On the cattle project he said he got inspiration from Dr Themba Dlodlo of Nguni Brahmans and decided to venture into it as Matabeleland region also favours cattle ranching.
He recently ventured into trucking which he is growing and employs 15 people in all his businesses.
The humble and unassuming young man grew up in the village in Mawabeni like any other village boy, herding his family’s cattle and goats and playing plastic paper balls with friends coming home late and dirty.
He never thought he would one day be in charge of his own magnificent business.
His life has been an enigma that has unfolded on its own giving out a lot of good things and opportunities in the process.
“Good things happen to those that believe.
And I am a firm believer of that.
I am one person who is positive about a lot of things.
In fact, I am generally a positive looking person.
Negativity in the mind is poisonous to the way we view and pursue our goals.
In adversity I remain positive, in challenges I am positive as well,” he said.
He dropped out of university at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) where he was pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Banking and Investment Management.
He was paying his tuition and felt he could no longer proceed so he decided to do something to sustain his life and go back to university when he has amassed enough resources.
“I was caught between going to school and making a living. I was paying my own school fees hence I had to drop-out after failing to balance airtime vending and school though I do not encourage the young entrepreneurs to do the same.
I’m currently considering going back to Nust to finish my degree programme.
I think I now have resources that can take me through university,” he said.
Not only is Mr Ndlovu into business, he is also engaging in corporate social responsibility in his small way where he is working hand in hand with youths in the district to empower them to start self-help and self-sustaining projects.
“I am not directly involved in politics but I support President Mnangagwa’s vision of empowering the youths.
So, I was approached by the Zanu-PF youths that I am currently working with where we are giving out poultry projects to the youths in the communities not only in Umzingwane but in Matabeleland South Province.
That is my way of ploughing back to the community that has supported me so much in my growth as a businessman.
I am thankful for the continued support and I am happy to be part of the youths empowering team.
“The projects are meant to help keep the youths away from the temptation of drug abuse, scourge watered by unemployment and idleness.
They also keep them away from engaging in criminal activities as they will be busy making money through honest means,” he said.
This, he said, was in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision of making people use the resources available in their localities to make a living as the country decentralises industries to the communities.
“I am happy to be part of the vision in my small way.
I hope people, especially the youths, will take seriously the projects that are being launched countrywide to transform their lives.
I believe in Leonardo da Vince’s writings when he said ‘what is important is not that we have lived and died but the difference we have made in other people’s lives,’” he said, adding that he finds joy in changing other people’s lives for the better.
He also said he got a lot of support from his mother, brothers and sisters with the little resources they had after their father passed on in 2006 when he was only 17-years-old. Mr Ndlovu is married and has four children.
“I did it under very difficult circumstances and I believe with focus and diligence anyone can do it as well.
There are a lot of opportunities for empowerment out there,” he said.
A national youth executive leader of Zanu-PF who has been working with Mr Ndlovu, Cde Vuzumuzi Moyo said they were gratified in the work he was doing in empowering the youths in the district and the province.
“He has been very helpful in providing us with resources for our youth projects as we pursue the President’s vision. We hope and encourage all other business people to emulate him,” he said.