Alfred Zwambila was the first black in Bulawayo to be granted a liquor license for Marisha Cocktail Bar-Lounge built next to his shop in Magwegwe in 1967. The bar was officially opened in February 1968. He died in 1975
Mr. Zwambila was a clerk with a Bulawayo firm, his wife a trained nurse. In his own time Mr. Zwambila studied bookkeeping and accounts. With their joint income they were comfortably off, but both realized that they were not extended to the limit of their capabilities.
The story of Mr. and Mrs. Zwambila parallels that of many others who by personal initiative and hard work have made a success of their lives and businesses. Their opportunity came when the Government decided to enforce a ruling that proper sets of books be kept by African businessmen as well as European. He resigned from his secure job and set up on his own account.
At first he offered his services only to those who had received final income tax warnings. Meanwhile he taught his wife so that she could become a partner in his business. Soon they were looking after the affairs of 36 businessmen in Bulawayo.
Times were hard while they struggled to build up a regular clientele of substantial businessmen. Mrs. Zwambila kept the family accounts. All profits were ploughed back into the business. There were no luxuries, but Mrs. Zwambila allowed her husband “pocket money” of sixpence a day – four pence of which he spent on a newspaper, and two pence he saved for a mug of beer on Saturday.
One day the City Council announced that henceforward, applicants who could prove a capital of £2 000 would be permitted to develop their own premises in the African trading area. By then the Zwambilas’ joint savings account amounted to £1 300. They applied just the same, and so impressed the board with evidence of their thrift and industry that the conditions were relaxed in their favour.
In 1965 they opened their first shop, and a year later it became a supermarket. Their latest venture was the plush Marisha Cocktail Bar, where the tired businessman can relax and listen to the resident band and be served by smartly uniformed waitresses with “Maverick” ties.
Despite her business sense, Mrs. Zwambila remained a sentimentalist at heart. The bar was named after a sick child whom she once nursed back to health.
He also sponsored Highlanders Football Club in 1970s.
- , Window on Rhodesia, The Jewel of Africa - A People’s Progress, Accessed: 15 July, 2020