I'm not a spending fool – Muzhingi

HARARE - There are many examples of rags to riches and then back to rags tales involving local athletes over the years.

With fame comes fortune but without proper management most of that fortune is quickly eroded.

One good example is that of former Zimbabwe international football captain Francis Shonhai, who died while living in South Africa in 2006.

Former Warriors players had to come together to raise money to expatriate Shonhai’s body back home for burial.   

Record Comrades Marathon winner Stephen Muzhingi does not want to fall into the same trap and become destitute once his running career comes to an end.

Muzhingi, who has won the world’s oldest and toughest ultra-marathon three times between 2009 and 2011, tells the Daily News on Sunday that he has invested most of the money he has won in his career in property.

At the moment, the 34-year-old is content with the choices he has made with his money and is not eager to go into business.         

“You find that some people make fun of me thinking I have blown all the money that I got when I won those races but I’m someone who came from a very poor background,” Muzhingi says.

“Imagine what would you do all of a sudden you get $20 000 when you didn’t have a place to live and didn’t know when your next meal was coming from the previous day?

“Do you first try to establish a business or try to get proper accommodation for yourself and your family?”

HOME SWEET HOME: Stephen Muzhingi poses for a picture with his wife Erina Magwaza-Muzhingi and their two boys Methane and Ethan at their Tynwald house last week. Pic: Annie Mpalume.

Born in Gutu to a poor family, Muzhingi is proud of investments he has made with his money.

“When I won my first Comrades Marathon in 2009 I bought my first house in Chitungwiza and at that time my late mother was very sick at the time,” he says.

“I bought that house for $18 000 but I had been paid less than for winning the Comrades because I had to pay the South African taxes and there are some other deductions as well.

“But after I had my own place to stay, I was able to bring here in Harare from the rural areas at least here that is where all the doctors are better hospitals.

“In the rural areas the clinics there were only able to provide her with pain killers nothing else.

“At the same time I was also able to start living with my young brothers who were also struggling while in the rural areas.

“As Africans we have a large extended family which we need to help out from time to time. I’m a married man as well and I also need to help my in-laws from my wife’s side.

“After winning the 2010 Comrades, I used the purse to buy a compartment at Madokero Estates near Sanganai Inn. The compartment was going for $28 000 and I was lucky enough that the Rand was a little bit stronger that the US$ at that time.

The father of two added: “In 2011 I won the race again and I was invited by President (Robert) Mugabe at State House. It was a proud moment for me to meet the president because all my life I had never thought I would meet him one day.

“At the State House the president gave a $50 000 prize and straight from that meeting I went to pay for this house that I’m now staying in Tynwald.

“I had already met the lady who owned the house a few days after arriving from South Africa and we had agreed on the prize.

“I think I made a wise decision by investing all the money I have won in property because I now have tangle assets.

“I know stay in a decent house with my family and use all the rentals from my other properties to pay for my other expenses like school fees for my children.”

Muzhingi, who also won the 2012 Two Oceans Marathon, is aware that he needs to make the most of his short running career.

“A sporting career is a very short career so you need to make sound investments when you are still at your peak,” he says.

“At least I know have a place to stay and various other properties so this will be the legacy I leave for my children and family.

“I have seen a number of regional and local athletes who have won a lot of money more than me in their careers but have nothing to show for it after they have retired.”

Comments (5)

great one Muzhingi

engineer - 19 January 2015

Good stuff, you have a wise head on your shoulders. That said, Mr Editor, did you edit this story? It's laden with amatuerish errors. Surely a paper of your standing can do better than this?

mukwerekwere - 20 January 2015

thats brilliant,its you and Benjani who are good examples to youths not that guy who squandered all his money while in England

sinyoro - 20 January 2015

Way to go Stephen. Well done!

Grivin - 21 January 2015

Well done Mr Muzhingi and u have a beautiful wife as well

Fatso - 22 January 2015

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