Up close and personal with Zodwa

HARARE - Born in rural Matabeleland, a region rich in wildlife and cattle ranching, Zodwa Mkandla, has defied all odds to become owner of one of the most successful travel agencies in Zimbabwe.

Mkandla is proud of her origins. She says it is a sign of how hard she has worked to get where she is now.

A self-made businesswoman, Mkandla is the managing director of Traverze Travel, a leading leisure and business travel management company in Zimbabwe with 10 years in the industry.

With many accolades, recognition and successes, she has also attracted attention because of her swaggalicious lifestyle.

She is adamant, that she is only a businesswoman and not a socialite as some quarters have labelled her.

She drives latest Jaguars, Range Rovers and owns a Bentley.

“I grew up in the rural areas, even my fiancé (businessman Genius Kadungure) but our businesses are going very well, I have had to work hard for what I am, where I am and everything that I have,” Mkandla said.

She said people must not get into business just because others are doing it, but because they are knowledgeable and passionate about it.

“I am an MD, yes but that’s just a title. I work 24/7 like my consultants at work. And I put extra effort to satisfy my clients,” Mkandla said.

The Daily News had an exclusive chat with the fashionista, who is affectionately called “Mai Ginimbi” (because of her hubby) to pick her brain on a variety of issues, including her business, new and old life.

On lifestyle: “I am not a socialite, I know people call me that but I am not. I am a businesswoman. It’s what people see us as, but we are not. I know who I am and I know what I am in society and people around me know what I am.

On religion: “I never used to go to church that much but now Spirit Embassy (Church) is now my home. Because I am a Christian, there are things I avoid, which in the past I would have easily done. For instance I no longer go clubbing, but if I am invited.”

Favourite destination: “My favourite destination would be Dubai, the beaches, shopping, tourist attractions, the malls are out of this world and you can swim with whales. Another thing is that they are not racial, they are so friendly.”

Family and history: “Zodwa was born at a place called Bubi in Matabeleland and went to school at a place called Mqwassini in the bundus before I moved to Harare for school.

I have two daughters, Precious in Upper six and Melisa Form One.”

Love life: “My fiancé (Kadungure) and I complement each other in our relationship, and are both business people.

“As a woman, I don’t believe in looking up to men, I believe we need to work hard and be independent so that men respect us, but at the same time women should also give men the respect that is due.”

Business: “My parents wanted me to be a teacher, but later my father introduced me to Nelson Samkange who was in the tourism industry and he took me through the tourism ropes.

I did a diploma in (IATA) International Air Transport Association. I also had a chance to work under a powerful lady called Nicky Phiri,a woman who made me believe nothing was impossible. She was a hard worker.”

On success: “I never knew that I was going to be successful. My dream was to drive a Mazda 323. I haven’t reached where I want, I want to be powerful that when one wants to fly, they think Zodwa.”

Working journey: “My working journey started as a receptionist to travel consultant.

“I then left to start my own business because I wasn’t getting to the level, so I started Traverze in 2003 as the three of us, myself, a driver and a consultant, and now we are 25.

“People get into things they don’t know much about and which they are not passionate about. Many of my friends are into selling clothes but I won’t follow because my friends are doing it.

On fashion: “Yes I know how to dress myself but I do not know about the trade. But I have done travel all my life, starting with selling bus tickets. I travel a lot and I know what to offer them and advise them because I have invested in travel and my strength is in public relations and marketing myself.”

Overcoming economic hardships: “The economic situation is just a phase we are going through, and we overcame before. We should also sell Zimbabwe as a destination because we have a lot to offer.

“We worked very hard and have achieved so much as a company.

“We top major airlines, being number one, while in some instances in top five for airlines including Emirates, Kenya Airways, British Airways, Air Zimbabwe and South Africa Airways.”

Awards: “In 2010, I was Woman of the Year for Harare Branch and was 1st runner-up at national level.”

Motto: “Never ever give up on your goals.”

Comments (4)

Nhai Reporter, wabhadharwa here kunyora nyaya kako iyi? is this what you call news?huh Yave Hmetro here ino?

zimbojam - 14 July 2014

This is a poorly written piece. Dailynews used to be synonimus with excellent writing when it used to "tell it as it is."

Galore 123 - 14 July 2014

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