Zimbabwe Funerals Mogul Makes Forays Into Tourism, Acquires Luxury Cruise Boats

HARARE – Nyaradzo Group founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Phillip Mataranyika has consolidated the funeral assurance services group’s interests in Zimbabwe’s booming tourism industry with an acquisition of two house boats on Lake Kariba.

Mataranyika’s interests span from manufacturing to tourism, where he already operates Sahwira Events, a company that specialises in organising corporate functions, weddings and birthdays.

But he is mostly famous for establishing the Nyaradzo Group as a funeral assurance services outfit eighteen years ago.

It has robustly expanded and diversified in the past few years, eclipsing the dominance of long-time rival, Doves, to emerge as one of SADC’s leading operations.

Mataranyika’s humility touched the emotions of his countrymen in January when he personally drove the hearse at the funeral of music superstar, Oliver Mtukudzi, a legend who was declared a national hero.

But as the nation was stunned by his humility, the businessman, through Sahwira Lifestyle, had already made inroads into tourism with the two big acquisitions, according to a statement seen by Economic News Network (ENN) on Monday.

The statement was delivered by Wendy Chingeya Mandizira, a Nyaradzo Group non-executive director at a private event to mark the firm’s 18th birthday in Kadoma last month, but was seen by ENN Monday.

“Sahwira Events is fast becoming a renowned player in the hospitality sector, offering equipment hire and events management for weddings, birthdays, corporate functions and outdoor events. Sahwira Events is sure to give you world class service and create memories that last a lifetime,” said Mandizira.

“We also have Sahwira Lifestyle that is an extension of our hospitality business. With Sahwira Lifestyle we have two luxurious houseboats available for hire on Lake Kariba. Nyaradzo Group continues to grow comprising of multiple business units, one of which is Calundike Exports, our wood manufacturing entity, where you are able to get top of the range household and office furniture,” she said.

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector has been attracting significant attention from foreign and domestic investors who hope to tap into an estimated US$1,6 billion that is projected to flow into the sector this year, from about US$1,9 billion last year.

Sunset on Lake Kariba. These magnificent views are attracting new investments into the tourism industry

Most of the interest has been generated by increased marketing since November 2017, when the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration replaced long ruling strongman, Robert Mugabe.

The administration immediately established the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ campaign to attract investment and tourists into the country.

This has reshaped the Zimbabwean brand in tourism source markets.

This week, Zimbabwe took part in the Arabian Travel Markets in Dubai, where it hopes to increases arrivals from the Middle East by 20 percent this year.