Africa Moyo and Fungai Lupande
When they see someone swimming in luxury, the jealous always console themselves by saying, “he will leave all this when he dies”. Others are quick to attribute the wealth to witchcraft and goblins could have been acquired to fast-track the riches.
But whatever people have said or shall say, prominent Bindura gold dealer Kudzanai Kangara who died of Covid-19 at Chitungwiza Hospital on Sunday and was buried in his rural home in Shamva, on Monday, lived a life of glitz and glamour in the town’s Aerodrome suburb.
Even in death, the casket demonstrated that a person of means was departing, and a couple of US dollars had to be buried with him, probably to give him a soft landing to the world yonder.
We might not have seen the type and quality of food he ate, but on the evidence of his houses, vehicles, generosity and even number of wives he had— three official ones and several unofficial, Boss Kangara, as he was better known by those around him, clearly did not lack anything on earth, possibly from the time he established himself in the gold business.
You couldn’t talk about gold in Bindura without his name mentioned.
He was a symbol of perseverance and hard work for many young men, with almost every gold panner wishing to attain his level one day, and many upcoming gold buyers in Bindura have invested in beautiful houses and cars that any talk of Zimbabwe being a country in grinding poverty as presented by hostile regional and global media, fades into oblivion.
For some, he was a deit, who solved most of their financial problems if they consulted him, while for others, Kangara was a role model for the school going age, farmers and more importantly gold miners.
Kangara refurbished two neighbouring houses sharing a single precast wall with the resulting houses equal to those in many of Harare’s medium or low density suburbs.
Unconfirmed reports from neighbours said he had bought over 10 houses in the same street and had started renovating them to meet his desired standards.
The Herald news crew has seen about five of the houses being renovated to match the first two where Kangara was staying.
Inside the yard, one was greeted by a range of upmarket vehicles including a Range Rover, Mercedes Benz G-Wagon, Mercedes Benz X-Class, a McLaren, among many other Toyota brands such as Prados and Land cruisers.
The side facing the road and gates allowed people to see what was in the yard and some people visited his place just to catch a glimpse of his collection of cars and the way the houses were constructed.
When the McLaren arrived at his home, reports suggested that he engaged Bindura Municipality to remove the humps on the road to his home so that it could pass without hassles. And duly, officials from council could be seen at work on the road leading to his home, with his young brother assessing if the work met expectations.
Once the “small dynamite” arrived, it was parked across the gate for everyone passing to have a better view.
In fact, each time he bought a new “big boys’ toy”, he would throw US dollar bills on the streets of Bindura.
Kangara would flaunt his wealth, especially vehicles, at the nearby Aerodrome Shopping Centre, where he would sometimes drive with bars of gold placed on the dashboard.
In 2019, he hogged the limelight after he shot a man at his offices in Aerodrome alleging he wanted to rob him, although the rumour mill suggested there was an altercation during gold transactions leading to the shooting.
But the self-defence story was accepted.
To people outside his circle, he was seen as a controversial rich gold dealer, but to his family and neighbourhood, he was a humble person who never hesitated to extend a helping hand to the needy and vulnerable.
The entire Aerodrome suburb fetched water from his diesel-powered borehole.
Family spokesperson Cosmas Kangara described the gold dealer’s death as a huge blow to the family and the community.
Born in a family of seven, Kangara grew up an orphan following the death of his parents. “He started working at Trojan Nickel Mine in Bindura as an electrician. He worked there for five years and lost his job when the mine closed,” said Mr Kangara.
“He did temporary teaching at Zvomanyanga and married Refaisi Dambaza. He didn’t manage to proceed to a teachers’ college as planned. He did farming at his in-laws to raise money to buy a car to start a pirate taxi business and plied the Madziwa-Goora route.
“They raised money and started buying gold. At that time, trading in gold was prohibited and difficult. At one point, the wife wanted to leave him because of hardships in the business.”
Mr Kangara said the couple registered their business in 2001 and started building their empire.
“He helped everyone in the family and we have lost a pillar. He helped people in the community he lived and whenever he maintained his house he also included his neighbours’ houses,” he said. A member of the community, Mrs Margret Chinyama, said: “I became close to the family because his wife was a district member in Zanu PF. She was very active in the party and would take women in her car to party meetings.
“They started from scratch and we watched their business grow. The house next to theirs is owned by the United Methodist Church for its pastors and the family would become close to all the pastors who came to stay at that house. For years, we have been battling water challenges in Aerodrome and we don’t have running water, but we would fetch at their home.”
She said before last Christmas, women teamed up to thank the family for the assistance they rendered to the community. Kangara is survived by three wives and 13 children.