Donovan Chimhandamba
Donovan Chimhandamba
BornDonovan Antony Chimhandamba
(1979-09-12) September 12, 1979 (age 41)
Karoi, Zimbabwe
Known forBeing a business executive
ChildrenKyle, Adrian, and Zoe
RelativesDerrick Chimhandamba

Donovan Antony Chimhandamba is a Zimbabwean born business executive. Chimhanda has worked at Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), Vesuvius International and Group Five.


Chimhandamba was born in Karoi but is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.[1]

He is the firstborn in a family of four who lost their parents in subsequent years when he was nine. His father was an engineer in the copper mining industry and mineral processing industry as well as a good golfer who passed away from cerebral malaria aged thirty-three.

Chimhandamba is cousins with Dr Francis Chiwora Chimhandamba.[2]


Donovan Chimhandamba was born on September 12, 1979.[3]


Chimhanda is married to Hazel.[3]


As of April 2021, Donovan and Hazel Chimhandamba have three children Kyle, Adrian, and Zoe.[3]


He holds a B.Eng (Hons) in Industrial & Manufacturing from the National University of Science and Technology and an MBA from the University of Pretoria - Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Donovan Chimhandamba learnt at Kwekwe High School where he did his Advanced Level. He wrote his Ordinary Level at Zimuto Secondary School. He first attended Mhangura Government School from Grade 1 to 5 and Victoria Primary School for his Grade 6-7.[4]


Chimhandamba began his career as an Industrial and Manufacturing Engineer at Engen Petroleum Refinery in Durban and progressed to occupy senior management roles that included roles as operations engineer, production manager, general manager manufacturing and business development executive.[5]

He is the former business development executive at South Africa’s Group 5 Construction.[1]

Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)

In 2016, Donovan co-founded and led the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG), a group of Zimbabweans in Diaspora that was awarded a US$400 million concession to rehabilitate and operate the National Railways of Zimbabwe for 25 years.[5]

In 2020, the National Railways of Zimbabwe cancelled the US$400 million recapitalisation tender that had been awarded to the Diaspora Infrastructural Development Group (DIDG) in partnership with the South African railway company, Transnet.

The deal failed to take off after the Transnet board was fired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for “secretly” conjuring up such a deal without the government’s authority.

Reports also indicated that the new Transnet board that was eventually appointed, failed to ratify the deal leading the NRZ to raise questions around its execution.

In a letter dated 30 July 2020 addressed to DIDG executive chairperson Donovan Chimhandamba, outgoing NRZ general manager Lewis Mukwada said the railway company had decided to terminate its relationship with DIDG owing to a number of operational reasons.

“Further to the foregoing, I wish to advise that having given due and careful consideration to the matter and contents of the correspondence from yourselves (as noted above), the NRZ is unable to proceed with the relationship with yourselves in respect to the above tender and has resolved to and hereby terminates same or/ and cancels the relationship and/ or the award of tender 6599:5642 for the recapitalisation of the NRZ to Transnet and DIDG."

He cited the discontinuation of the DIDG/ Transnet partnership as one of the reasons that had effectively led to the cancellation of the deal. Part of the letter read:

"(Some of the reasons include) … The collapse or coming to an end of the relationship between Transnet and DIDG as a consortium for purposes of participation in the implementation of the above tender. (They also include)…Failure by Transnet to secure and/ or submit proof of approval by their board and by their shareholder (to continue participating in the tender). As you will appreciate, Transnet and DIDG submitted a teaming agreement which formed the basis of their joint bid. The tender was, therefore, to Transnet and DIDG as a consortium/ team. There was never a tender award to either Transnet or DIDG as a single and/ or independent entity."

Responding to the cancellation, Donovan Chimhandamba is quoted by NewsDay as having said:

"Needless to say we are disappointed by it considering the direct pressure the NRZ board, Lewis Mukwada (general manager) and management has faced from JB (Joel Biggie) Matiza (Transport and Infrastructural Development minister) over the last months to be complicit with an illegal act or they face immediate fast-tracked retrenchment or removal based on trumped-up charges. Our lawyers, Atherstone and Cook, represented by Mr Innocent Chagonda, are studying it and we will respond accordingly. As DIDG, we are here for the long term and we are determined to ensure that our shareholders, Zimbabweans and the diaspora get what is rightfully theirs."


Arkein Group

In his role as CEO of Arkein Group, he led the construction of an early stage (venture capital) industrials portfolio, creating new companies with a potential balance sheet size in excess of ZAR5bn (US$625 million) by 2016. The Industrials portfolio is spread across South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. Also in 2012 and 2013, he also led a number of private equity buy-outs for a Community Trust totalling ZAR 1,2bn (US$150 million).

Donovan Chimhandamba was the Head of Strategic Projects Fund, a division of the National Empowerment Fund specializing in Venture Capital, Private Equity and Project Finance. Under his leadership, the fund grew from zero to a portfolio size projected to be in excess of ZAR25 billion for some 27 projects.[7]

Nyanza Light Metals

In 2011 after founding Arkein Capital Partners (Arkein) with Anglo-American Kumba Trust which was the Fund Manager for the US$ 1 billion Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust (SIOC-Cdt), Donovan Chimhandamba also established Nyanza Light Metals. In 2014 with Public Investment Corporation (PIC), he set up Razorite Healthcare Fund which has now listed its healthcare assets on JSE as RH Bopelo.[8]

Nyanza Light Metals invested R4.5-billion on the construction of a plant to produce titanium dioxide at the Richard’s Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), in KwaZulu-Natal.[9]

More than 800 jobs were created during construction and 300 direct permanent jobs during the operation.

The construction was in two phases being:

  • Phase 1: will be a Pilot and Demonstration plant which will create approximately 20 permanent jobs and about 80-100 construction jobs. The value for this phase is R2 billion
  • Phase 2: will be a full plant which will account for the remainder of the jobs and value of investment. The permanent jobs during this phase are estimated at 280 with the total investment value of R4,3 billion.

In terms of raw materials, the plant wasestimated to use 320 000 tpa of sulphuric acid, 36 000 tpa of ammonium sulphate, 380 000 tpa of lime and 250 000 tpa of feed material.

Most of the raw material would require railway infrastructure closer to the site and sulphuric acid supplied preferable through pipeline. The plant was built to produce 50 000 tons per annum of which 60% will be exported to African and international markets.[10]

Positions Held

  • Arkein Group: Chief Executive Officer[7]
  • Nyanza Light Metals: Chief Executive Officer[8]
  • DIDG: Executive Director


As of April 2021, Chimhanda owns a Jaguar F-Type, Mercedes-Benz GL500 and a Jeep.[3]

Net Worth

While Donovan Chimhandamba's estimated or exact net worth is unknown, he has completed million-dollar deals in companies that he manages and co-owns.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hazel Ndebele, We’re re-railing derailed NRZ: DIDG boss, The Independent, Published: February 16, 2018, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 The African Professional™ Magazine. The African Professional™ Magazine, Published: September 1, 2013, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 MARTIN ZHUWAKINYU, Donovan Chimhandamba, Engineering News, Published: April 2, 2021, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  4. Donovan Antony Chimhandamba , LinkedIn, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  5. 5.0 5.1 DONOVAN A CHIMHANDAMBA, DIDG, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  6. Nkululeko Sibanda, NRZ finally cancels DIDG tender, NewsDay, Published: August 4, 2020, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  7. 7.0 7.1 Donovan Chimhandamba, Arkein Capital Partners, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  8. 8.0 8.1 Donovan Chimhandamba, Nyanza Light Metals, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  9. YVONNE SILAULE, Nyanza Light Metals invests R4.5bn in titanium dioxide plant at Richard’s Bay IDZ, Engineering News, Published: April 8, 2021, Retrieved: July 6, 2021
  10. R684 million revenue collection and more than R5 billion investment, Polity, Published: December 11, 2019, Retrieved: July 6, 2021