Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
SOUTH Africa-based Highlanders member Nodumo Nyathi has been receiving rave reviews across the club’s social media platforms for spearheading Bosso’s debt clearance campaign that was launched in May.
Nyathi has been bestowed with living hero status for leading the drive that resulted in the club wiping its legacy debt that stood at $862 868 when the campaign started.
The initiative saw Nyathi and his team delivering the last payment of $410 000 to the club last Friday.
It was good news for Bosso family, as the debt clearance came just before Zimbabwe celebrated Heroes Day yesterday.
Nyathi’s resilience after an initial attempt to raise funds for Highlanders failed in 2018 rightly earned him the hero status.
In September 2018, Nyathi launched a fundraising initiative aimed at raising about R30 million to clear the Highlanders debt but it failed.
However, in May this year, Nyathi, who is chairman of the Highlanders Supporters Association South African chapter, remodelled the campaign, which initially targeted at least 1 000 Bosso fans to contribute a once-off R500 payment to help the club clear its debt.
The 2018 campaign ran under the banner R30 challenge, targeting Bosso followers and sympathisers based in South Africa and abroad, who the supporters’ chapter believes to be more than one million.
Only 40 people contributed to the R30 challenge, raising R7 000.
Nyathi is happy that they have managed to help the club clear its debt with the contribution of less than 1 000 Highlanders fans.
“Having tried and failed in the first campaign, I looked at possible reasons why first the first attempt didn’t do well and I was convinced that it was not a failure, but just a learning curve. Convinced that Highlanders fans love the team and would like to play a part, I thought of remodelling the initiative,” said Nyathi.
“This time around the campaign was vigorous and there was a time I looked stupid to many people and some even told me straight in my face that I was nagging and boring them, but I never relented. When a few people supported the call, I immediately believed that this time the campaign would be a success and committed to doing everything for it to succeed,” he said.
Nyathi said it took a week to plan and strategise before launching the initiative after making some consultations.
He said besides the love Highlanders’ followers have for their club, team work, transparency and accountability made the campaign a success.
Every time someone made a contribution, organisers made it public by posting evidence on all social media platforms.
The exact number of people that contributed towards debt clearance will be announced once reconciliation has been completed.
The campaign had a slow take off, with $100 000 being raised in May and $300 000 in June.
Nyathi believes the campaign would have raised lots of funds had they opened mobile payment platforms.
“I believe if we had EcoCash, Telecash, One Wallet and Netcash platforms, we would have pushed more numbers in Zimbabwe. That’s the only thing I feel we could have done to raise more funds,” said Nyathi.
Contributions for the debt clearance were made to a South African back account and a BancABC account in Zimbabwe as well as online platforms.
The success of the campaign has left Nyathi pondering on what other project to embark on for Highlanders.
“Many possible projects have been discussed and are still to be discussed. We will pick quick wins first. What I’m certain of is that we will definitely embark on some projects, discussions are ongoing.
“I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in this campaign and would like to give special thanks to Busani Mthombeni, who I worked with to set up this project as we endured a number of sleepless nights before launching the campaign. I appreciate my wife and his wife for allowing us to do this as it really drained us. Special mention also goes to some ladies that played a pivotal role behind the scenes, mainly Mildred Maseko, Fiona Tshuma and Nokuthaba Nkala,” said Nyathi.
Musicians Bongani Mncube and Sebenzani Mehlokazulu were also roped in to drum support for the campaign. – @ZililoR.