Simba Jemwa, Chronicle Correspondent
THEY are the children of well-known struggle heroes. One of them lived in the diaspora for over two decades while the other has had spells down South.
One is the son of struggle hero, General Alfred Rogers Nikita Mangena, the late Zipra forces commander who was killed during the liberation war when his Land Rover hit a Rhodesian-planted landmine near Kabanga Mission in Zambia on June 28, 1978. The other is the grandson of Artwell Nelson Bokwe, another bastion of the struggle who died in 1981. The launch of the Second Republic’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), a building block towards the attainment of Vision 2030, saw them setting their sights on heeding President Mnangagwa’s call for more black Zimbabweans to invest in the tourism industry.
The duo of Lotshe Youri Rogers Mangena and Stanley Dube has actively sought to enter the tourism fray and this they have achieved through a partnership that is currently running Matopos Sailing Club after being given a temporary concession by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks).
“My partner and I saw an opportunity when the President called on more players, especially locals, to be involved in tourism. In NDS1, we noted plans to look beyond traditional tourism to invest in alternative forms, and places, of tourism. This includes heritage tourism. New tourism areas to emerge will be Kanyemba, Tugwi-Mukosi, and new areas around the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone.
“Zimbabwe is also looking to new markets, such as the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe. NDS1 also wants Zimbabwe to corner the Meetings, Incentive, Conferences and Exhibition (MICE) market. There will also be a push for domestic tourism through “appropriate” packages, as well as Diaspora tourism promotion,” Mangena told Saturday Chronicle.
Mangena and Dube are part of a consortium of businesses trading as Morden Magnet Investments and are working in partnership with ZimParks, 3D Events Management, Witness Chiota of Family Amusement Park and Kiddo Land.
Led by young entrepreneurs like Mangena and Dube along with their co-directors Philip Phiri and Innocent Mlandu, Morden Magnet has transformed what had become a derelict has-been into a must-visit weekend place for the Kings and Queens of Bulawayo.
“I went to Reps for my junior school so I literally grew up around the Matopos Sailing Club. I used to come here as a little boy with my schoolmates whenever we didn’t have sports on weekends. I even cycled to the sailing club from home in Matsheumhlope with my friends a few times just to come and get a feel of the beauty and serenity,” said Mangena.
“Families can now enjoy roller-coaster riding, speed boating, canoeing, horse riding, quad biking, swimming, drinking, braaiing and unwinding. We are working on turning the sailing club into a complete resort with beauty spas, chalets, and educational tours while also preserving the ecological system,” Dube chimed in.
“Since we have been operating at the Matopos Sailing Club, in excess of 15 000 people have come through our gates. For the people of Matabeleland South and Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, this is a dawn of a new era and we hope to build our Family Entertainment and Tourism Centre to be a top-class destination to cater for all ages,” revealed Dube.
In a previous interview with this publication, ZimParks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo said the reintroduction of the club was a sure renaissance to the region’s tourism sector. He said the “chillas” was a success since the turnout was great for the weekend getaway.
“We had a successful family fun day partnership with Morden Investment at Matopo Sailing Club. The event was well-attended and had a positive response from the local market. It was a two-day event that was attended by over 800 adults and kids,” said Farawo at the time.
Mangena and Dube have a rich heritage of nationalism, having grown up in families defending the sovereignty of a liberated Zimbabwe. And with this legacy, the duo has chosen to become active players in the nation’s economy and defend the economic sovereignty of Zimbabwe.
“Our fathers and grandfathers went to war for Zimbabwe, died for Zimbabwe and we now live in Zimbabwe because of their sacrifices. The only way we can honour them is if we fight for the economic transformation of the country they went to war for. Ours is an easier job compared to what they went through.
“President Mnangagwa called on all Zimbabweans to play their only little part in growing this country’s tourism sector and we decided to heed his call. We are hoping for a long-term lease from ZimParks that will allow us to realise our dream of creating a utopia for even local tourists to enjoy themselves. Ours is to promote and grow domestic tourism,” Mangena explained. — @RealSimbaJemwa
Article Source: The Chronicle