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Dr Matifadza Nyazema – The Woman who does not take no for an answer

Matifadza Nyazema

By Tapfuma Machakaire 17/10/2022

An upbringing by hospitable Catholic parents who looked after scores of relatives at their Mbare home produced a renowned female entrepreneur, who now runs a luxury boutique hotel in Victoria Falls.

Matifadza Nyazema says growing up she witnessed her father’s hospitality as he welcomed every relative to their Harare home. Such hospitality inspired Nyazema to venture into the tourism industry where she is now welcoming tourists from across the globe.

“An interesting statistic is that I have 56 first cousins. I know I counted and actually wrote a story about it. All of those cousins, all of their parents at one time or another came to live in our house because we were the Harare city people. What I remember most is that everyone was welcome, and I am just talking of immediate family.”  Nyazema told Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube in an interview.

Mbano Manor Hotel is situated 200metres from Victoria Falls National Park in a town where humans, wildlife and nature interact.From the comfort of the luxurious rooms of the hotel it is the norm to hear lions roaring in the distance.

Mbano Manor is the ultimate destination for nature lovers where the bushveld wraps itself around the hotel buildings. “With the construction, we only took down two trees,” says Nyazema. The idea was to build a small, exclusive lodge that would match anything Kruger or the Serengeti had to offer.

Nyazema conceptualised and developed the luxury boutique hotel that comprises 19 suites, becoming the first black female Zimbabwean to achieve such a feat.

She says the idea of investing in Victoria Falls was born out of a school trip that she took to the resort town when she was a kid.

“When I was seven or eight years old my father took us to Victoria Falls. He took his school. So, we went by train. I was very young, but I remember it very well. It was me and my older sister. That was a lasting memory for us.”

Matifadza Rukanzakanza was born on her grandfather’s farm in Msengezi Mashonaland West Province. Her parents then lived in a nearby small town, Kadoma in Rimuka high density suburb. Her father was a teacher and the mother a nurse. The couple later moved to Harare where Matifadza enrolled at Chipembere School in Highfield before the family moved to Mbare where her father had been elevated to the position of headmaster at Gwinyai Primary School. Easy access to the library at her father’s workplace enabled Matifadza to develop a culture of reading. She did her secondary education at St Dominic’s Chishawasha and later St Ignatius College.

Mati as she is affectionately known studied journalism in Nairobi Kenya through a Danida scholarship and worked briefly as a sub editor with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in the early eighties.

She later did a Bachelor of Administration and Political Science degree at the University of Zimbabwe and joined the Zimbabwe Tourist Development Corporation in the public relations department before moving to marketing.

Mati later got a scholarship to study for a master’s degree in international hotel management in the United Kingdom. On her return home she joined Zimbabwe Sun Hotels, as reservations manager. In 1992 she joined British Airways as sales manager and later rose to area marketing manager for British Airways sub-Saharan Africa based in Johannesburg.

“I was part of a global marketing team. We would rotate meetings around the world. All of that laid the foundation of what you are witnessing today. I have so much experience from so many countries and I’ve actually stayed in some of the best hotels in the world.” Nyazema told a visiting Sunday Times reporter.

Between 2006 and 2016 Nyazema worked as the executive director of the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg South Africa.

When she decided to embark on the project of constructing a hotel in Victoria Falls, Nyazema invited Norman Wallace a former employee of Tsogo Sun in South Africa for a meeting to discuss the project. Wallace was accompanied to the meeting by a renowned interior designer, Ryan Illgner.

“The magic of this place is you have hoteliers who sat round the table and designed a hotel before involving an architect. The three of us knew the five-star standards, we knew what works and doesn’t work.”

Nyazema says the actual construction was tough as most of the materials had to be imported from South Africa. Her inspiration behind Mbano Manor Hotel’s architecture was a trip to the island of Bali, Indonesia, where she stayed in a secluded hotel situated in a tropical forest.

“It was exclusive and secluded it was absolutely amazing,” she says.

An estimated US$7million was required for the project, money which Mati and husband, Norman Nyazema, a renowned professor of pharmacology and businessman, could not afford.

Nyazema started the search for money in SA after putting together a comprehensive 44-page prospectus with all the financial projections. But no-one was biting.

“The Industrial Development Corporation even flew investment professionals to Victoria Falls to inspect the site but decided against investing.”

Eventually pension funds investing on behalf of sugar producer Tongaat Hulett and banking giant Standard Chartered came on board with construction funds.

“I probably made over 100 presentations for money, I’m not exaggerating. I know where every bank in town is. I know where every pension fund in town is,” says Nyazema.

After two years of building, the hotel opened its doors in January 2020. It has 18 employees mostly locals from Victoria Falls area. Nyazema’s spirits were not dampened when six weeks after the hotel opened its doors the Covid-19 pandemic struck which saw the country going into a lockdown.

“We believe in our country and we believe in the success of our country and we are going to do our two cents’ worth to actually make it a success.”

Matifadza is a Shona word which means you have made us happy. If Mati has not made her family and country happy, then who deserves that accolade?

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arts and culture

AMAA unveils plans for 2023, calls for entries – Punch Newspapers

Africa Film Academy, the organisers of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, has unveiled plans and activities ahead of the 19th edition to take place in 2023.
This was revealed to journalists at a media parley during the week.
The founder and president of AMAA, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, stated that the decision to unveil the plans and activities ahead of the 19th edition of the continental film awards was deliberate and a move to involve every film practitioner in Africa and the Diaspora.
Anyiam-Osigwe also noted that the early call for entries was to enable more film practitioners to submit their works for consideration.

She said, “This is an avenue to officially rest the 18th edition of the AMAAs, and begin the journey to 2023. We are currently calling for entries in all categories, and this will last till March 2023.
“We invite filmmakers to submit their features, shorts, animations, and documentary works for consideration in nearly 30 film categories of the awards.” Related News
Anyiam-Osigwe also emphasised that AMAA was not a popularity contest but a professional event that rewards professionalism across Africa.
The producer of the awards, Kingsley James, also stated that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would return as the host for the 19th edition of the awards, while other activities that include human capacity building by the AFA, jury session, unveiling of nominations, and a week-long festivities to herald the 2023 edition will be unchanged.
James added, “Our announcement of the line-up of activities for AMAA 2023 is a deliberate action. We will be having two or three activities every month till the grand finale of the awards.
“We will also be screening the five biggest films in AMAA 2022 to the media, so they can understand why those films were nominated and won big. This is in addition to a monthly dialogue with practitioners and creatives.”
Guests at the parley include the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf; the jury led by Keith Shiri, Shaibu Husseini, Steve Ayorinde; as well as actors and film practitioners such as Richard Mofe-Damijo, Idowu Phillips (Mama Rainbow), Bimbo Manuel, Jennifer Eliogu, Wole Ojo, Daniel Daniel, Enyinna Nwigwe, Osas Ighodaro, Denrele Edun, Tony Akposeri and Osita Iheme.

Africa Film Academy, the organisers of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, has unveiled plans and activities ahead of the 19th edition to take place in 2023.

This was revealed to journalists at a media parley during the week.

The founder and president of AMAA, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, stated that the decision to unveil the plans and activities ahead of the 19th edition of the continental film awards was deliberate and a move to involve every film practitioner in Africa and the Diaspora.

Anyiam-Osigwe also noted that the early call for entries was to enable more film practitioners to submit their works for consideration.

She said, “This is an avenue to officially rest the 18th edition of the AMAAs, and begin the journey to 2023. We are currently calling for entries in all categories, and this will last till March 2023.

“We invite filmmakers to submit their features, shorts, animations, and documentary works for consideration in nearly 30 film categories of the awards.”

Related News

Anyiam-Osigwe also emphasised that AMAA was not a popularity contest but a professional event that rewards professionalism across Africa.

The producer of the awards, Kingsley James, also stated that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would return as the host for the 19th edition of the awards, while other activities that include human capacity building by the AFA, jury session, unveiling of nominations, and a week-long festivities to herald the 2023 edition will be unchanged.

James added, “Our announcement of the line-up of activities for AMAA 2023 is a deliberate action. We will be having two or three activities every month till the grand finale of the awards.

“We will also be screening the five biggest films in AMAA 2022 to the media, so they can understand why those films were nominated and won big. This is in addition to a monthly dialogue with practitioners and creatives.”

Guests at the parley include the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf; the jury led by Keith Shiri, Shaibu Husseini, Steve Ayorinde; as well as actors and film practitioners such as Richard Mofe-Damijo, Idowu Phillips (Mama Rainbow), Bimbo Manuel, Jennifer Eliogu, Wole Ojo, Daniel Daniel, Enyinna Nwigwe, Osas Ighodaro, Denrele Edun, Tony Akposeri and Osita Iheme.

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arts and culture

Riele Downs Talks ‘Darby and the Dead’ – Black Girl Nerds – Black Girl Nerds

Typically, American Black folks don’t fool around with the dead. We may respect, revere, and reference them, but talking with them and solving their problems is usually considered taboo. However, as of late, we’re being included in stories that allow us to explore what some would consider the mystical. That’s what makes Riele Downs’ title role in Darby of the Dead intriguing. 

BGN met with Downs via video chat to discuss her new film, how she connected with the character, and her passion for fashion.

Tell us about your upcoming film Darby and the Dead.

It’s a supernatural take on a high school film, which is interesting because I haven’t seen a lot of those. It’s like Mean Girls with a supernatural twist. It centers around a girl named Darby Harper who went through something traumatic as a kid and develops the ability to see dead people. She creates this side business where she helps them move on to the next realm. When a freak accident happens at school with one of her frenemies, they’re forced to team up to take care of a similar goal.

How did you connect with your character?

I talked to the director and my castmates, and we basically discovered that there was just so much context that comes with this script. We wanted it to feel deep. We didn’t want it to just feel like a very surface-level high school film, so we did a lot of workshopping into the past. What was my relationship with this frenemy character? What was the day like when my mother passed away? I didn’t have my own experiences to necessarily pull from for those things. 

In terms of the ghost stuff, for that I just really put myself mentally in the [character’s] shoes because I’m not about to do anything physical with that. I’d like to keep my distance.

What is the one thing you will always remember about making this film?

Probably that it took place in South Africa. The film doesn’t [take place there], but we shot it there. Obviously, that’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. It really is the Motherland. It has so much history, and luckily, I got to see some of that after the shoot. I was so busy during the shoot, I never got to really go do much, but afterwards, I stayed for a week. I went to Robben Island. I went to some museums. I took in the arts and culture. Also, I can say firsthand that South Africa is not just some desert land like people think. It’s a country. There are people there, buildings and culture, and great food. That was extremely memorable.

How do you think your role as Charlotte in Henry Danger prepared you for this role?

I would say it’s more in the work that I had to do. I never before this film had to do a role where I had this much of a demand and as an adult. Those hours are totally different, but luckily Henry Danger did definitely work us a lot. I had to go over lines and learn them very quickly. We did an episode per week. We would be at work basically all day having to learn lines very fast, having to act on our feet, improv a little bit. I definitely think what Henry Danger required from me workwise helped prepare me for the work that I had to do for this film.

Tell us about your hobby that you’re passionate about and how you got started.

I just love the visual arts in general so much. I always have, ever since I was a baby. I’d be painting on my mom’s walls — which sorry, Mom — because she didn’t love that. But in terms of fashion designing, literally in kindergarten me and my best friend would design entire lines. I guess it always came naturally, but where it connected in this industry is I realized, “Hey, I have events to go to. There’s actually a platform for me to wear these on now.” I know how to sew, but not to the level I would need to yet, so I found people that could make these outfits and I have somewhere I could showcase them. I have somewhere that will actually impact people if they see this. Why not just marry the two passions together and do something? 

Now, I’m working on releasing a line because I just love fashion. I think that it’s definitely a medium where you’re able to express yourself freely, and everyone has their own style. Wearing the right outfit can really just make your day in terms of comfort and just if you feel like you’re expressing yourself.

If you’d like to check out Riele Downs and her supernatural abilities, tune in to watch Darby and the Dead on Hulu December 2, 2022.

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Ministerial rap for SASCOC at AGM as new Board member voted in – Insidethegames.biz

A sharp message from the Government was delivered at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) at its headquarters in Johannesburg on a day when Sanele Mthiyane, President of Basketball South Africa, was elected as a new Board member.

The special election followed the vacancy created by the recent resignation of Alan Fritz.The other candidates for the vacancy were Marthinus JH Bosse from the South African Wrestling Federation, Cecilia Molokwane from Netball South Africa and Winston Abraham Meyer from Lifesaving South Africa.The President of SASCOC, Barry Hendricks, told the hybrid meeting – which was attended by 70 National Federations and provincial sports confederations as well as the Minister of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa – that the organisation was growing and its financial status had greatly improved.”Thank you to our sponsors and partners who continue to help us push our mission forward through their funding,” he added.However, in his keynote address, Mthethwa sounded a warning note as he said: “We have noted and will attend to the complaints about delays experienced by National Federations in the release of their funding allocations.”The Minister also thanked the delegates for demonstrating sport’s role in both nation-building and social cohesion.”Judging by the packed calendar of events we enjoyed during the year, we can only applaud the huge bounce-back experienced by sport, in the direction of full normality, following the devastating pandemic of the past few years,” he said.Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was an attendee at the SASCOC AGM ©Getty Images”Together with SASCOC, we have made it our priority to remove all controversies around issues like the payment of incentives to our medallists.”We will also continue to call upon the sports bodies to nominate candidates for the various sports awards on offer.”SASCOC chief executive Nozipho Jafta added: “I am very pleased to report that there is an upturn in our finances.”I can safely say that we are succeeding in rebuilding our stakeholder confidence and the SASCOC brand.”More corporates are showing interest in partnering and supporting Team SA.”Good corporate governance and compliance is at the centre of these negotiations.”It is undeniable that we are emerging after some extremely tough times as an organisation.”There is an unwavering commitment to invest in our athletes, their well-being and performance as we build towards Paris 2024 and the Los Angeles 2028 Games.”We remain committed to achieving our goal of delivering a high-performing, transformed Team SA.”

SASCOC has held its annual meeting at its headquarters in Johannesburg ©SASCOC

A sharp message from the Government was delivered at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) at its headquarters in Johannesburg on a day when Sanele Mthiyane, President of Basketball South Africa, was elected as a new Board member.

The special election followed the vacancy created by the recent resignation of Alan Fritz.

The other candidates for the vacancy were Marthinus JH Bosse from the South African Wrestling Federation, Cecilia Molokwane from Netball South Africa and Winston Abraham Meyer from Lifesaving South Africa.

The President of SASCOC, Barry Hendricks, told the hybrid meeting – which was attended by 70 National Federations and provincial sports confederations as well as the Minister of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa – that the organisation was growing and its financial status had greatly improved.

“Thank you to our sponsors and partners who continue to help us push our mission forward through their funding,” he added.

However, in his keynote address, Mthethwa sounded a warning note as he said: “We have noted and will attend to the complaints about delays experienced by National Federations in the release of their funding allocations.”

The Minister also thanked the delegates for demonstrating sport’s role in both nation-building and social cohesion.

“Judging by the packed calendar of events we enjoyed during the year, we can only applaud the huge bounce-back experienced by sport, in the direction of full normality, following the devastating pandemic of the past few years,” he said.

Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was an attendee at the SASCOC AGM ©Getty Images
Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was an attendee at the SASCOC AGM ©Getty Images

“Together with SASCOC, we have made it our priority to remove all controversies around issues like the payment of incentives to our medallists.

“We will also continue to call upon the sports bodies to nominate candidates for the various sports awards on offer.”

SASCOC chief executive Nozipho Jafta added: “I am very pleased to report that there is an upturn in our finances.

“I can safely say that we are succeeding in rebuilding our stakeholder confidence and the SASCOC brand.

“More corporates are showing interest in partnering and supporting Team SA.

“Good corporate governance and compliance is at the centre of these negotiations.

“It is undeniable that we are emerging after some extremely tough times as an organisation.

“There is an unwavering commitment to invest in our athletes, their well-being and performance as we build towards Paris 2024 and the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

“We remain committed to achieving our goal of delivering a high-performing, transformed Team SA.”

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