Saturday, 23 April 2022

THE IMPOSING CHIVI MANSION


The imposing yellow-super structure in the heart of Mashamhanda Village in Sese communal lands on the south-eastern fringes of Chivi rural is an eye catching spectacle that has left villagers spellbound by its architectural sophistry.

The three-storey villa is a palatial and towering structure that even the filthy rich in some of the country’s major cities can only dream of.

Boasting of seven en suite bedrooms and two other ordinary bedrooms, all with deluxe beds and exotic bedding, the villa defies its rural setting, a stone’s throw from the sprawling Sese Business Centre.

Bordered by a range of hills to the north and west, the villa has at least four balconies in the second and third floors that afford those inside a panoramic view of the Sese area as it extends downwards into the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam basin to the south east.

Several kitchens and living rooms equipped with modern furniture put the icing on the cake on this otherworldly structure that makes a mockery of its rural location.

The imposing and picturesque villa was built by businessman and Mashwede Holdings founder 72-year-old Mr Alex Mashamhanda at his rural home where he was born and raised.

Mr Mashamhanda said he spent about US$850 000 on the villa.

Electrified and also powered by a huge back-up generator and at least six huge water tanks perched on a high area that supply water for the villa and the entire homestead via gravity, the palatial villa is now the talk of the entire Sese area and beyond.

The house was commissioned during the Easter holidays, with the event marked by three continuous days and nights of merry-making punctuated by music, dance and feasting that will remain etched in the memories of the local rural folk.

Mr Alex Mashamhanda shows the huge portrait of his late mother, Mbuya Tsvakai Mashamhanda nee Charumbira, in one of the foyers of his mansion at his rural homestead in Chivi

Villagers now tout the new super structure as a fitting tribute by the people of Sese to Government for upgrading and rehabilitating the Harare-Beitbridge Highway that is now a huge source of pride for locals.


Starting Easter Friday, villagers from all corners of Sese thronged the Mashamhanda homestead to celebrate the new mansion, as they revelled in the glory of a new architectural spectacle spearheaded by one of their own, amid lavish partying.

Huge tents were erected to protect merry-making villagers from the drizzly weather that hung over most parts of Masvingo Province over Easter while music of different genres thundered from the public address system that had been put up.

Imbibers for both opaque and clear beer, including some of the finest whiskeys, had an unforgettable experience of interacting with booze for more than three days while beverages were also galore for those with a penchant for mellow things.

The young and the elderly temporarily suspended their age differences as they danced and feasted in unison, ostensibly to cap a unanimous acclamation of what their son, a former cattle herder of Sese, had done.

For Mr Mashamhanda, building the villa at his rural home is a testament of his long-standing bond with the land and community that moulded him into what he is today.

He proudly boasts that he remains a rural boy despite the fortune he has amassed through his business empire that include food courts, fuel retailing, construction equipment hiring, among other enterprises headquartered in Harare.

The Mashwede Holdings founder, told The Herald on Saturday that his umbilical cord still remains in Sese, firmly connecting him with his birthplace.

“I am a rural boy and this (Mashamhanda Village) is where I was born and raised and whatever I am today, including what I have achieved; my origins are here,” he said. “I am what I am here today because of the way I was raised, by my immediate family and also the community that I grew up in. The values that define me and how I evolved as a person up to now was shaped by this community.”

Mr Mashamhanda said he built his villa on land that barely has any value, but believes his move is not only inspirational, but also epitomises the wishes of the under-resourced rural populace, also yearning for a good life.

“I built this mansion as a way of expressing that rural people are keen of a good life just like people in any other part of the world,” he said.

“Even my neighbours want a house like mine, but the only difference might be access to resources. This is a message that the rural folk also want a better life and yearn for it with resources being the only missing link.”

Mr Mashamhanda said his upbringing, growing up in Sese communal lands as one of the many children of his polygamous late father helped him develop thick skin and has had a huge influence on the person he later became.

“My father was a polygamist with seven wives and the way he toiled looking after his big family influenced me also in a big way because I drew invaluable life lessons from him,” he said.

“He taught us to till the land, herd cattle and was also a businessman who was into buying and selling and even rented shops at Sese Business Centre.

“He could not read or write and counted his earnings using sticks, sometimes getting it right. That is the drive which spilled into us as his children. I was shaped by the way I grew up and the surroundings. Part of the me that developed as a result of the way I grew up during my early life might remain with me until I die.’’

Mr Mashamhanda revealed that successes and challenges alike played a huge part in honing his business skills and developing resistance to antagonistic forces he encountered along his life and the business journey.

“The final product that is me was shaped by many things, some even adverse,” he said. “At one time when we were stopped from selling textbooks as M and H Holdings in 1996, we could not even pay salaries for up to seven months, but we soldiered on and those challenges helped us to become strong.”

Mashwede Holdings’ driving philosophy is investing in business property and job creation.

The firm boasts of several business properties in Harare, including the iconic Mashwede Towers that was built in 2003 before it was opened in April 2004.

“Mashwede Towers is our headquarters and the name Mashwede is short for Mashamhanda and Hwede with the former being the name of my late father while Hwede was my grandfather,” said Mr Mashamhanda. Herald

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