Paul Mkondo: Born to serve the people

15 May, 2013 - 22:05 0 Views

The Herald


unlock doors into the entrepreneurship field for many aspiring black people.

Mr Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo was born on December 23, 1945 in what was then Fort Victoria, now Masvingo.

He was the second son in a family of 18 and grew up in Nerupiri Village in Gutu South constituency. He later moved with his father, who was a farm manager, to Schoora Estate in Marandellas (now Marondera).

He did his Sub A to Standard One at Schoora Estate. After Standard One, Mkondo moved to a Wedza farm, which became known as Edridge (Duva) Estate where he worked as a stable boy looking after horses. He later went to Chemhanza Mission from 1957 for his primary education from

Standard Two to Standard Six. For his secondary education he went to Tegwani Secondary School.

During school vacations, he used to enjoy the Mountain Outward Bound Camps, which were held at the Outward Bound Mountaineering Centre in Melsetter (Chimanimani). The courses were for survival and character building. The motto of the school was “To Strive to Help and Not to Yield”.

He went to Bulawayo Technical College to train in hotel catering, a course that was sponsored by the Rhodesian Breweries and Anglo American Corporation. He was one of two African students accepted for this course as the rest were whites and Coloureds.

The other black student was Stephen Mazorodze. Whoever came first was to be offered a scholarship to study for a Bachelor of Science degree in

Hotel Management at Blackpool Technical College in the United Kingdom.

Although he came first he was not offered the scholarship because of his colour.

He then went to work for Parklane Hotel as an assistant manager in charge of the kitchen. Because of a mishap at a white man’s daughter’s wedding where he beat up some soldiers who were later found guilty and fined £25 each, he was barred from being employed by any white catering establishment in Rhodesia. After being fired from Parklane Hotel, he got another job at the Federal Hotel owned by an Indian businessman. He found himself again at war with the Coloureds who could not accept a black manager.

In the 1960s, the African townships were up in arms politically against the white oppressive regime. Many political parties such as ANC, Zapu and Zanu were very active. The African businesses in the townships were opened and closed at will more than ever by the police. He negotiated with the Liquor Licensing Board, police and health inspectors that he would be the licensee of Mutanga Restaurant, which was approved.  He applied for a stand on behalf of his boss Clever Mutanga in Highfield which site and plans were later sold to Mr George Tawengwa who put up Mushandirapamwe Hotel, which stands up to today.

He bought Club Hideout 99 in Lochnivar from Leonard Nyamutsamba and Conrad Mandiki.

In 1970 he was employed by Southampton Assurance Company as an agent selling life policies. From his earnings and commission, he acquired two small cars and had them registered as taxis.

He applied for a business stand with the City of Harare in Glen Norah, that of a service station. He named his taxi company “Sharaude Glen Norah Taxi Services (Pvt) Ltd. He built a very modern garage and service station for his taxis. The taxi vehicles multiplied up to 120 and that made him own the second biggest taxi company in Rhodesia after Creamline Taxis. He was elected president of the Zimbabwe Metered Taxi Operators’ Association.

In 1973, he was made district manager. In 1975 he became a member of the Million Dollar Round Table Conference held in the United States of America — being the only person from Africa and the only person from his country (Rhodesia).

This enabled him to travel worldwide. He met then President of America Gerald Ford at the White House and had lunch with the Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, Ambassador Andrew Young; he visited the Pope at the Vatican and had a special audience with Pope John Paul II.

In 1976 he was made production manager. In 1977  he became regional manager, assistant general manager in 1978 and then director and general manager agency in 1980. In 1988 the taxis, garage and service station were sold in order for him to buy a farm in the Mazowe area known as Inyatsi Farm.

In 1989 he was made agent and director, director and marketing consultant and executive director of Paul Mkondo Multiple Agents (Pvt) Ltd.

In 1990 he became the executive director of Paul Mkondo Insurance Brokers (Pvt) Ltd. In 1999, he became a PMA Real Estate registered agent and in 2002 he became Paul Mkondo Life Assurance Company Ltd director. Paul was also the national vice president of the Indigenous Business Development Centre, a black economic empowerment organisation that was formed in 1991 to champion the indigenisation of the economy. He had a soft spot for the downtrodden hence his saying “Hupenyu hwenyu idambudziko remoyo wangu”.

He was involved in the management and running of a disabled people’s institution whose main aim was to rehabilitate those children who were wounded during the Zimbabwe war of liberation.

They were not covered by the United Nations funding hence the birth of Danhiko, whose patronage is in the hands of Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe. So attached and involved was he to the cause of the disabled that 25 percent of his workforce were from Danhiko.

Paul was asked by the Police Commissioner-General to spearhead as chairman the construction of a Zimbabwe Republic Police boarding school in Hatcliffe, which is now up and running with an enrolment of over 600 students with excellent examination results.

In 1988 he obtained a Diploma in Business Studies at the University of Zimbabwe. In 1992 he graduated with a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He was a qualified real estate agent, a qualified life agent, a fellow of the Zimbabwe Institute of Management and a Commissioner of Oaths.

Mr Mkondo was involved in the politics of the country in many respects. At the time of his death he was in the process of writing a book on “Money and Life” which book we hope the family will continue to support until its publication.

We say go well Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo and may your soul rest in eternal peace. We will endeavour to continue with the good work you have been doing.

Obituary courtesy of the Indigenous Business Development Centre

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