ONE of the last aviation acts by the late Captain Peter Chirimuuta, may his dear soul rest in eternal peace, was a fly-past. 

A fly-past has been described as a ceremonial flight of aircraft past a person or a place, as part of a ceremony.

A fly-past is often tied with state events, anniversaries, celebrations – and occasionally, funerary or memorial occasions.

Captain Chirimuuta flew businessman,Tawanda Chenana to Macheke, for his mother’s memorial service and duly executed a fly-past before landing to wild cheering.

A villager applauds the late Captain Chirimuuta and Tawanda Chenana’s arrival in Macheke on Saturday.

After landing and seeing me with a camera, the affable young captain asked me with a chuckle if I had captured the fly-past.

In this instance, the fly-past was not for some high officials or state event.

It was a fly-past done to honour and celebrate roots, fellow villagers and a mother’s love and sacrifice.

“This is not about being fancy or to show off but an act of showing gratitude, respect to the community that raised me,” said Chenana.

He was hosting a memorial service to celebrate the life of his mother, a war collaborator and champion for community development, Susan Tanga.

From an early age, Chenana said he knew he would outgrow his village-boy status.

“I am the guy who went to Jekwa Primary School and secondary, in typical rural style. 

“Barefoot, shoes were a luxury we could not afford and every villager here can attest to this.

“After my ‘O’-Levels, which I did not complete, I left for Harare where I became a garden boy, but I had big dreams and created a ‘garden service company’ which thrived. 

“I then ventured into the construction industry and created another company of ‘dhaka boys’, building assistants.”

Fast forward…

Today Chenana is a businessman in the logistics and construction sectors, with interests locally and in the region.

Last week, the celebration of the life of his mother, a key figure in his life, turned out to be a gripping experience that mesmerised many and held the community in sweet-hostage until the wee hours of the morning.

Five music bands that included the iconic Leonard Zhakata and Allan Chimbetu and Mike Pagiwa serenaded the crowd that attended the event. 

More interesting was the inspiring account of how he chased, reached and ultimately achieved success.

“Think of the big picture in whatever you are doing,” he said. 

“I want to inspire youths, especially those in the so-called marginalised areas by showing them that they can improve their lives and achieve dreams no matter the circumstances, coming from my background, of relative poverty, I had no other option, the only way was up.

“When I decided to grow in the business world, I looked at two sectors that I believe presented the most opportunities: the logistics and construction sector, we are an operation-for-social-good.
“Building a business or achieving success is not an overnight event but demands working consistently over a sustained period of time.”

All the challenges I encountered made me who I am today, said the young businessman who shuttles between Zimbabwe and South Africa overseeing his interests in both countries.

“I want to change the way we live and

think, the way we work and play, the way we see the world,” he said. 

“I want to transform lives, my goal is to inspire and motivate. “Obviously, one needs courage to take risks, to chase dreams and persistence to realise them. 

“The two most important ingredients of an entrepreneur is self-confidence and high energy levels, one just has to work hard. 

“If you are extremely confident, work hard and have the energy to bring passion and intensity to something you will succeed.”

Chenana bemoaned negativity which dominated the African story.

“We need to share positive narratives; we need to control our own narratives and share more of our positive stories,” he said.

“Social media is a game changer now, and traditional media no longer controls all the information; more African success stories need to be shared. 

“Most stories about Zimbabwe and Africa are full of exaggerations and do not reflect the reality on the ground.”

Negative mindsets and self-hate, he said, were the biggest challenges Africa faced and needed to address for sustainable development.

“As a continent and black people, we keep importing experts from abroad,” he said. 

“We keep going abroad for so many things yet we have the capacity to do it ourselves. 

“As long as we do not build the confidence and pride of our own citizens, we won’t be able to claim true independence. 

“We should take heed of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s message that, “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.”

“We have non-believers among ourselves but the data does not lie, just look at how the world is fighting to get a piece the African pie. 

“It is no secret that the Chinese, Americans and Europeans are furiously competing for influence, resources and market share in Africa and that should be a wake-up call to us all.”

Economic and business reports indicate that Africa will be a two-billion-person market in a few decades and eight out of the top 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa. 

The continent is reportedly one of the very few places where you can find 10 percent returns on a savings account and in the US or Europe right now you will be lucky if you can get one percent returns.

“The problem is that we do not control our own narrative and our success stories do not get as much publicity as the negative stories,” said Chenana. 

“And the worst part is that we Africans buy into this negative narrative and perpetuate the cycle. 

“Sadly, a lot of the non-believers are Africans themselves.

“I have invested in my village and at the farm because I have seen the most amazing ideas and brilliant minds from young men and women in these areas who have the capacity to transform the fortunes of our nation,” said Chenana.

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