Michael Tome and Chipo Chaumba
The property sector remains an uncharted territory by a sizeable number of women but the Machaya sisters have tackled it head on.
Shamiso and her elder sister Tsitsi, have taken the bull by its horns by venturing into a male-dominated field and nothing seems to stop them. The two left Zimbabwe in search of better fortunes in the United Kingdom (UK) two decades ago and later formed C&R Home Designs and Construction PLC.
The venture, which started as a mere carpentry business, building kitchens for the diaspora clientele, has since diversified into a fully-fledged construction business.
The new company has undertaken various construction projects such as kitchen renovations from scratch to bigger housing projects in the leafy suburbs dotted around the country.
Shamiso one of the directors at C&R Home Designs and Construction points out that the burning passion to pursue the construction industry stems from the aspiration to honour their father who was a carpenter hence C&R coming from Corner (the father) and Rinah (the mother). She chronicles that the company is a brainchild of the need to cushion investments by many diasporans who have on countless times fallen victim financially to relatives and friends alike in the process of building houses back home.
However, being female in a male-dominated sector is proving to be tough.
In a conversation with her, Shamiso indicates that majority of the male populace has not come to terms with the fact that women actually run this particular construction entity.
“Our database is mainly migrant, 95 percent women and 5 percent men have engaged with us because women in construction are under represented so it also takes a lot of confidence for men to approach us as their contractors in the industry,” she says in an interview.
Although not covering construction of commercial properties yet, the company specialises in carpentry, tiling, painting, electrical fittings, plumbing, building of new single storey and double storey houses as well as architectural drawings for domestic constructions.
To date C&R has completed several houses in different areas like Harare’s Warren Park, Bulawayo, Mutare, Chitungwiza and Rusape while numerable projects are ongoing on in Gletwyn–Chishawasha Hills in Harare.
As it stands, the company employs over 60 tradesmen that include qualified carpenters, plumbers, builders and general hands.
Shamiso acquired her first accounting degree from the University of Zimbabwe in 1998 after which she worked for Edgars from 1998-2002 as a senior clerk in the accounting department before leaving for the UK in 2002.
She holds Msc Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship from the University of Newcastle. Her elder sister and co-director of the company, Tsitsi, studied entrepreneurship in 2016, after a considerable stint as a prisons officer having studied Criminology in the UK.
Having strong entrepreneurship background, both sisters have become a driving force behind this capable construction business.
“In 2016 we decided to be self-employed rather than working for someone. We just wanted to relax and do a few books, work with people and do a small business,” Tsitsi highlighted.
Asked how the business has been faring since operations began Shamiso spoke: “Business for us has been consistent, we have enquiries that overwhelm us at times and this shows how much demand is there yet we have not penetrated the local market since we are just talking about the diaspora market at the moment.”
Established in February 2018 and attained company registration status in April 2018, C & R Home Designs and Construction PLC is a registered company that specialises in offering quality property renovations and construction service to domestic and commercial clients throughout Zimbabwe for people living in the Diaspora and within the country.-First Published in Business Weekly.