Top executive draws inspiration from reggae

The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Reporter
“My destination is homeward bound.” This line from Jamaican reggae dancehall great, Buju Banton’s legendary hit, Destiny, rings true at the country’s largest and oldest cement manufacturer, where the man at the helm gets inspiration from reggae music.

Surely, only a man who controls his destiny will work for the same company his parents worked for and then rise to be the top boss.

Born in Manama, Gwanda District in Matabeleland South Province, in 1971, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) Zimbabwe managing director Mr Kelibone Masiyane was raised by a single mother following the death of his father while in detention at Whawha Prison in Gweru.

Both his parents worked for PPC in Colleen Bawn where their only child attended primary school.

In an interview, Mr Masiyane said despite the challenges of life, he is inspired by reggae music and at his residence in Bulawayo he has a study that doubles up as a studio.

“When I’m at home, I happen to have a study which doubles up as a studio. So, I fell in love with reggae at a very early age, over the years it has always been my inspiration.

“When you listen to Bob Marley he says: ‘One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain.’

“So, this is what has inspired me over the years and in my studio at home, I play a lot of reggae tunes. I find it inspiring even when I am down to play a tune by Bob Marley or Buju Banton. There is always an inspiration,” said Mr Masiyane, who is affectionately known as KB by those close to him.

One of his favourite tracks from Buju is Destiny, a social commentary that talks about controlling your own destiny.

Said Mr Masiyane: “Some of us, the old school, we still play reggae because we are inspired. It still reminds me of my roots, where I come from because people always question that if you don’t know your roots, how then are you going to effectively plan for the future?”

He said it is important that one knows where they are coming from and the experiences, they have gone through to be able to look forward and survive.

Mr Masiyane said his father, whom he never spent much time with, died in 1979 after spending a couple of years in prison for supporting the liberation struggle.

After Colleen Bawn Primary School, he proceeded to Cyrene High School in Matobo District, Matabeleland South Province, for his Ordinary Level.

For his Advanced Level, Mr Masiyane attended Gifford High School in Bulawayo from 1989 to 1990.

Between 1991 and 1994, he studied BSc in Applied Physics majoring in instrumentation and control.

As part of his degree studies, he did his industrial placement at PPC, the firm which on December 13, 1994, employed him starting off as a trainee electrical engineer before rising through the ranks to become general manager in 2009 and subsequently managing director in 2016.

Mr Masiyane said every leader aspires to have a team of excellent people around them and once that is done, they must be given space to operate and results would speak for themselves

“As a business, we are doing very well because we have got a very good team, we have got the right people in the right seats and that makes one’s life as a leader very exciting and comfortable that you have got this team of powerful people that you are leading and supporting, and they are supporting you as well.”

He said being part of PPC has taught him many aspects of life as well as shaping his own personal leadership philosophy.

Mr Masiyane said he does not believe in supervision as the right people already have the right aptitude and attributes.

His job, he said, is to create space for people to produce without any hindrances and to feed them the appropriate resources.

“People who need supervision must work for someone else. I think I’ve been fortunate that I have this remarkable team right across down to the sites and everybody doing their job and to me it’s a blessing,” he said.

Apart from reggae, the PPC boss said he likes watching soccer and is a Liverpool fan.

On the domestic scene, Mr Masiyane is a Highlanders supporter, one of the oldest football clubs in the country.

“I am a Liverpool fanatic. I love watching Liverpool, so most weekends that’s what I do, though watching on television is different compared to being there in the field,” he said.

“At one stage, I had an opportunity to be there (London), it’s almost equivalent like back in the day, watching Highlanders play at Barbourfields.”

He said despite Highlanders having gone for more than 10 years without clinching the championship, he will never stop supporting the club.

Mr Masiyane is married to Samukele Mthimukulu, a civil engineer, and the couple is blessed with two children.

“We have two beautiful children, a daughter she is 25 and is studying towards being a chartered accountant; she did accounting at a South African university.

“We have got a son, he turned 16 in December and is still at school doing Lower Six and the chap is in love with computers,” he said, adding that the teenager has developed his own website.

“We also stay with a niece. She recently graduated with a law degree from Midlands State University,” he said.

“And talking about family, I also have quite a number of friends that I consider as family. Maybe it’s because like I said, I grew up as the only child so, when I have these relationships, friends and a whole lot of other people, for me it gets to be meaningful.” — @Kingsolver

Article Source: The Chronicle

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