The rapid rise of Bulawayo’s domestic plumber

The Chronicle

Canditar ChapandukaChronicle Reporter

FROM domestic plumber to owner of a big commercial plumbing company. This is the story of 55-year-old Mr Mathias Banda from Bulawayo’s Pumula South suburb. 

Mr Banda might own a plumbing company called Cork Screw investments that he established in 2005, but it was not always the case. He started as a domestic plumber who had to beg for jobs and used kombis to visit homes. The task was made heavier by the weighty toolbox he had to carry.  

“Besides the case of being already feeling tired when I got to the workplace, it was a mandate that I should come up with perfect work every time in order to satisfy my customers,” he said.

After a day of dealing with burst sewers and blocked drains, Mr Banda had to deal with passengers who shied away from him and cringed due to his smelly clothes. He could not afford a change of clothes. 

“I decided to go to Bulawayo Polytechnic when I was 30 years old and studied surveying and I got my diploma. I then registered a company. 

“Soon after I started running the company, I got involved in a serious accident and spent six months in hospital but I still got jobs through referrals and from old customers. When I was in bed at the hospital, my workers were pursuing the jobs.

I have a serious fracture on my leg but there is no roof I cannot climb and I drive a manual car because I did not give in to the circumstances that I faced. Passion continues driving me to where I am today,” he said.

Mr Banda found it difficult to make it in an industry dominated by big companies, but giving up was never a choice. 

Rainbow Hotel

“In 2018 I got my longest contract with a five-star hotel. That contract opened doors for me and I started doing projects with companies like Chronicle, Rainbow Hotel and the Roman Catholic church. Now I can do projects even out of Bulawayo, I go as far as Masvingo.

“I even managed to expand the company into solar installations. The company is growing,” he said.

Cork Screw has grown to a level where it is able to engage students for internships. So far, the company has trained over 500 students. 

A student from Bulawayo Polytechnic Nyasha Dzvarai (22) said she started her attachment at Cork Screw in 2020. She said plumbing was a difficult job for her as a girl child since it is a job mainly for men. She commended Mr Banda who encouraged her not to give up and now she has a vision of starting her own company after finishing school.

Bulawayo Polytechnic College

 From using kombis to go to jobs, Mr Banda now owns a fleet of cars. 

“I managed to get company cars for my business that will be helping in the movement from place to place and carrying plumbing material and tools,” he said.

The father of four said he has changed his life in an impressive way as he now affords to take his children to the best schools in Bulawayo. 

“I am keen to build Zimbabwe by imparting knowledge to students and leaving a mark as a local entrepreneur. I wish I could contribute to the economy of the country at large and participate in devolution activities especially when it comes to tenders,” he said.

Chronicle Building at corner George Silundika and 9th Avenue in Bulawayo

Mr Banda said he is still hungry for growth and each day of business is like a new day as it comes with new challenges.  

“I appeal to local institutions to help us as entrepreneurs to have access to funds and to get local support in terms of finances because sometimes we get limited by resources,” he said.

Mr Banda advises other people who want to venture into businesses to first find out what is involved in the business they are interested in and not engage in a business that they are not passionate about. 

“If you put your heart and your mind into it, everything becomes easy,” he said. –@NomqheleCulq

Article Source: The Chronicle

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