Community builders: Takemore Mazuruse
He is probably one of the most inspiring success stories in Zimbabwe but Tinashe Mutarisi the Nash Paints Group chairman, has remained humble and humane.
Many have criticised him for over-indulging and making himself accessible to all and sundry but that connection with the masses is to him the true definition of living.
“Blessings and achievements in life are not for show. What counts when all is said and done is the ability to remain rooted in the values and traditions that define who we are as a people. Staying aloof is fine and possibly resonates with some but for me the opposite is true,” Mutarisi said.
I want to stay in touch with the masses and remain alive to their everyday challenges. I am not any different from a rising ghetto youth, who is struggling with ideas to eke a living. I am a people-made success story and I will always remain with the people hence that continued interface and support for the wider community.”
Beyond his sprawling business empire, Mutarisi runs House of Hope Foundation, a charity through which he reaches out to the marginalised communities and individuals in Zimbabwe and he recently drilled two boreholes in Chiunze village and availed scholarships to 21 disadvantaged children.
“Giving and community development has always been a part of our DNA as a business and for that reason I set up House of Hope Foundation through which we are giving back and empowering communities in a more structured way,” he said.
“We want to be strategic and organised in our corporate social investment programmes, so that whatever we do is sustainable and brings lasting solutions to the everyday challenges of our people. The recent donation to Chiunze village is just one of the many that we have undertaken over the years and continue doing so to this day.” The man who sits at the help of various multimillion dollar brands under his Nash Holdings Group reckons corporate social investment and community development is a necessity and he has deliberately focused on giving back to the community in one way or the other.
“Over the years we have invested in various interest areas all aimed at bringing lasting solutions to the everyday challenges of our people,” he said.
“We have interests in paint manufacturing and sales, mobile phones and technology, furniture, transport and logistics, media and entertaiAnment as well as construction to name a few but in all we do we continue to espouse community development ethos.
“Giving and community support for us is not so much about perception and public acclaim but a respect and high regard of who we are as a people and in some way a show of gratitude to God the creator. We are all a result of grace and the Lord’s blessings hence we always spare a thought for the less privileged.”
The businessman has had his fingers burnt over some of his purportedly community-driven empowerment projects, but he remains upbeat that his life story and footprints will testify of his love for humanity long after he is gone.
“There are projects like Nashtv that I have embarked on out of love and faith in the Zimbabwean talent and they have gone on to create employment and opportunities for locals,” he said.
“Yes, there has been challenges but I believe in bringing a feel good aura to my people and promoting talent hence I always look at ways to innovate and inspire hope and creativity.
“In my quest to do this and more, I have encountered some challenges and suffered brickbats but I always find inspiration in the envisioned greater good.
“I am not perfect and I wont expect everyone to grasp the broader vision hence I always take each experienceand the feedback as a learning curve.”
His rags-to-riches rise story has given hope to the majority of struggling Zimbabwean youths who continue looking up to him for inspiration and he has become a mentor and reference point for many rising entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe.
“Ï know many Zimbabwean youths look up to me for inspiration and for that reason I have continued to engage and share insights of my journey so that in one way or the other I open their eyes to possibilities,” Mutarisi said.
“My story is not unique, its there for all to see since my early days at Chikwanha in Chitungwiza and I will not shy away from sharing that journey.
“My social media feeds carry real life stories of my struggles and the battles that I have endured in this journey of life. I could post all the good things in life which not a bad thing but I want them to appreciate the process and through that awaken young minds to a world of possibilities,” Mutarisi said.
The businessman recently graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Business Management and he told Standard Style that learning should be a lifelong process.
“Ï know our economy is largely informal and its fast-becoming difficult to convince this generation that education is a necessity,” he said.
“The truth, however, is the fact that education remains a key enabler and necessity in life.
“Education is a continuous process and if you stop learning you die, hence it is important that our young people prepare themselves for a more formalised economy through acquiring education.
“Even if you choose self employment, education remains an integral skill.”
Mutarisi has often court the ire of the public over some of his comments to current affairs and other social problems, but he told Standard Style that all that was part of life.
“Life is a curveball and naturally we are bound to have different views about life and developments that we encounter on a daily basis,” he said.
“I don’t read much into the different views that my followers and members of the public have to what I share.
“I am not some know-it-all demi-god, hence you have seen me apologise or in some instances retract what I would have said.
“And all that is not to say I can not defend my standpoint but it all comes from a realisation that nobody has got monopoly of wisdom and humility is a true measure of greatness and humanity.”
As the humble community builder christened “mbinga isina noise” or rather a humble achiever by his multitude of followers continues to inspire and empower, it is hoped as many genuine business players and entrepreneurs emerge and play their part in developing the Zimbabwean economy and serving the less privileged.