Paul Tangi Mhova “Don Vito” Mkondo (MK)
“Upenyu Wenyu Idambudziko ReMoyo Wangu”
|Born||December 23, 1945|
|Residence||Old Highfield; Old Marimba Park Suburb; Highlands; Glendale (Mazowe South); Hwedza; Masvingo;|
|Education||University of Zimbabwe, Keele University, University of Southern California|
|Alma mater||Tegwani High School; Chemhanza Primary.|
|Era||Rhodesia & Zimbabwe|
|Employer||Self Employed Entrepreneur|
|Organization||Southampton Life Assurance, Paul Mkondo Insurance; PMA Real Estate, Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)Chicago USA, Nhavota Enterprises, Sharaude Taxi Services, Club HideOut 99, Inyatsi Ranch .|
|Known for||Nationalist; Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp; Entrepreneur; Restauranteur; Gold Mine Owner (80’s); Pioneer International Music Promoter (alongside Business partner Peter Muchanyuka, and another Pioneer International Music Promoter Job Kadengu were instrumental in bringing Bob Marley to Zimbabwe); Boxing Promoter; Insurance Guru (more popularly known by public for Sunday morning national radio programme that was aired for 3 decades called ‘Mari NeUpenyu WeVanhu-Itai Centi Centi‘ ); Black Economic Empowerment, Old Marimba Park Pioneering Tycoons; Student Protest Leader (UDI).|
|Notable work||World acclaimed ‘Nothing is Impossible’ (1983) Novel by Samuel Chimsoro is based on Mkondo’s early life & Pre-Independence; Radio Zimbabwe Programme - Mari neUpenyu WeVanhu (Money & Life) ; Money & Life Autobiography (Unpublished).|
|Home town||Nerupiri, Gutu|
|Political party||Zanu PF|
|Board member of||Southampton Assurance; Million Dollar Round Table; First Mutual Life Assurance; Karina Houseboat Association; Zimbabwe Musician Association; Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe; Club HideOut 99; Paul Mkondo Insurance; Sharaude Taxis; Nhavota Enterprises; Danhiko; Z.R.P.|
|Spouse(s)||Dr. Maud Mkondo|
|Children||Nhamodzinesu ; Vongai.|
|Relatives||Dr. Simon Lennox Mkondo; Cephas Mkonto; Stan Mudenge;|
Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo (23 December 1945 – 9 May 2013) was a Zimbabwean nationalist. Mkondo was also a very successful entrepreneur and a pioneer indigenous business magnate. Mkondo was one of the first Gonakudzingwa political prisoners alongside Joshua Nkomo as a student leader protesting against Rhodesia’s Declaration of Independence. A popular insurance program called Mari NeUpenyu Vevanhu broadcasting on Radio 2 (now known as Radio Zimbabwe) was done by him on Sunday Mornings since the early 70s.
Early Life: 1945-1954
Mkondo was born in 1945 in Fort Victoria, (now Masvingo). He was the third born in a family of 18 children, the second son of Tangi Mkondo. Paul grew up in Nerupiri Village in Gutu a district of Masvingo Province. He later moved with his father Tangi Mhova Mkondo, who was a very hard-working & disciplined farm manager (who was asked by the white farm owner to relocate with him because he trusted & respected his work ethics), to Schoora Estate in Marandellas (now Marondera) in Mashonaland East Province.
Education and training: 1955-1964
Mkondo did his Sub A (Grade 1) to Standard One (Grade 3) at Schoora Estate Primary School. After Standard One, Mkondo moved to another farm in Wedza, which became known as Edridge (Duva) Estate where he worked as a stable boy looking after horses, and then became the butler. During this time his father Tangi Mhova Mkondo joined fellow migrants recruited by Witswatersrand Native Labour Association (WNLA/ WENELA) to catch the Stimela train to work in the gold mines of Johannesburg, South Africa. This was in order to pay for the controversial hut tax imposed upon black Rhodesians (Zimbabwe) by the colonial government, as traditional subsistence farming did not generate enough income to afford the tax.
Mkondo had to work to support his mother and the rest of his siblings at a very young age. During the weekend he started weekend business of trading at the local market. He later went to Chemhanza Mission in Wedza a district of Mashonaland East Province, from 1957 to complete his primary education from Standard Two (Grade 4) to Standard Six. Mkondo then went to high school at Tegwani Mission near Bulawayo in Matabeleland South Province. At Tegwani Mission (now Thekwane High School) he met future fellow nationalists such as Canaan Banana and Edson Zvobgo. Mkondo was peers and classmates with union leader Gibson Sibanda. Mkondo as the Headboy led the biggest student protest against the Rhodesian Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1965. This resulted in him being black-listed and outlawed, resulting in him being one of the first political detainees at Gonakudzingwa Restriction camp alongside Joshua Nkomo.
Mkondo during school vacations, used to enjoy the Outward Bound Camps, which were held at the Outward Bound Mountaineering Centre in Melsetter (now Chimanimani) in Manicaland Province. He became a part-time instructor which helped him self-finance his Secondary Education.Mkondo during this time also trained individuals on bushcraft,scouting and how to survive in the bush and became elite SAS special forces worldwide. Mkondo went on to become a full-time "Outward Bound Instructor" where he trained another future nationalist, Moven Mahachi. After a few years as an Outward bound Instructor and Scout in the Eastern Highlands, Mkondo decided to continue his education.
Mkondo enrolled at Bulawayo Polytechnic College to train in hotel catering, a course that was sponsored by the Rhodesian Breweries (Natbrew) and Anglo American Corporation. He was one of two black students accepted at the time for this course. The student who achieved the highest marks was to be offered a scholarship to study for a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Management at Blackpool Technical College (now Blackpool and The Fylde College) in the United Kingdom. Mkondo came first among the other students in the course, but was not offered the scholarship because of his colour.This was his first personal taste of racial discrimination, as he believed the scholarship was a lifetime opportunity to help him provide for his family.
Mkondo then relocated to Highfields Harare, obtaining a job with the prestigious Park Lane Hotel in Salisbury as an assistant kitchen manager. Due to an altercation with some soldiers at a wedding, Mkondo was fired and later barred from future employment at any catering establishment. He sought out another job at Salisbury's Federal Hotel, but again cited discrimination by the predominantly Coloured guests.
Entrepreneurship and businesses establishment: 1965-1969=
Mkondo decided to open his own business in Lochinvar, and purchased the Club Hideout 99 with approval from the Rhodesian Liquor Licensing Board and the municipal authorities. This site later became an important meeting site for supporters of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and stored weapons for the party's militant wing, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA).Mkondo throughout the 1960s, he worked as an insurance & financial advisor. His business acumen and strong work ethic set off his entrepreneurial spirit which made him start a garage and taxi business in Machipisa, Highfields. Mkondo eventually founded his own taxi company, Sharaude Glen Noah Taxi Services (Pvt) Ltd, which came to own the second largest taxi fleet in Rhodesia, the largest being a cooperative ( Mkondo’s was the largest fleet in the country owned by one Family). At some point he also served as president of the country's Metered Taxi Operators' Association.
Indigenous commercial farming :1980-2013
Paul Mkondo was an established commercial farmer. He started farming Zimbabwe's staple maize in the late 1970s in Lochinvar and Southerton in Harare. He also was the first indigenous commercial poultry farmer to have his own brand: Paul Mkondo Poultry. In the mid 1980s, Mkondo purchased Inyatsi Farm at competitive commercial agricultural property market rates at that time, from a white farmer in the Mazowe, Mashonaland Central area. He joined the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), and was one of the founding members of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU), formed in 1992 to represent black commercial farmers.
Paul Mkondo in tobacco fields on his Commercial farm in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central Mkondo, as Vice-President – Affirmative Action of the IBDC organisation, was a founding father of the indigenisation and black economic empowerment of the Zimbabwean economy alongside similar business moguls and tycoons as Ben Mucheche (President), John Mapondera (Former President), Strive Masiyiwa, Chemist Siziba (former president), Jane Mutasa (IBWO), and James Makamba. This group worked on indigenisation laws with the support of the President Robert Mugabe, Vice-Presidents Simon Muzenda and Joshua Nkomo which formed the basis of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act of 2007.
Mkondo, was in the intensive care unit (ICU) post surgery for a month, whilst awaiting for his multi-disciplinary international medical consultants to medically air transport him to the reputable Milpark Hospital for stabilization first in South Africa, but their efforts were delayed by the local team. Mkondo died on 9 May 2013, in a Harare private hospital called Avenues Clinic in Zimbabwe.
Paul Mkondo was the first African insurance executive and financial advisor to be recognised with the elite Life Million Dollar Roundtable International (MDRT). In new independent Zimbabwe he officially represented Zimbabwe and presented the new flag to the MDRT Organization with the blessings of the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe H. E. Robert Mugabe nicknamed Jongwe. He was also on the MDRT standing committee. Mkondo was the first African President of the Life underwriters association.
Mkondo with VaMutanga were the first pioneering African Indigenous Businessman in Rhodesia to establish a licensed Restaurant and Night Club backed by Amai Mutanga’s Blessing and Prayers.
Mkondo was also the First African International Music Promoter In Highfields in the 60s.
The protagonist, Simbai Saul Muhondo, in Samuel Chimsoro's novel 'Nothing is impossible' is based on Mkondo's biography (the period from Mkondo’s Birth to 1983 when book was also published). The book was well received and became part of the national education syllabus in English literature during the 80’s without people knowing that it was based on Mkondo’s life.