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Exclusive Style: The Lives of Filthy Rich Zimbabweans

Harare – With eight richest people in the world controlling the same wealth as half of the world’s population, according to a 2017 report b...

Harare – With eight richest people in the world controlling the same wealth as half of the world’s population, according to a 2017 report by Oxfam, Zimbabwe’s social status is not far behind.

The nation represents two distant worlds: highly net worth tycoons, dining in lavish hotels, sipping on imported wines, puffing Cuban cigars, while spinning in posh wheels – a life mostly reserved for Hollywood megastars.

The other planet denotes the super poor – the majority yearning for erratic basics like electricity, water and struggling to pay school fees. A meal a day remains a pie in the sky, as companies close daily.

 Kardashians of Zimbabwe

Children sired by the rich live equally opulent lifestyles, educated in exclusive private schools charging US $5 000 per term, chauffeured to school, while displaying latest tech gadgets. For tertiary education, they are mostly destined abroad.

Zimbabwe’s own Kardashians rarely disappoint the observant. Vanessa Chiyangwa originates from a wealth bloodline. Her father, Philip Chiyangwa is romoured to be worth $300 000 million, so they can afford all the glitz and glamour that Harare can offer.

She recently jetted into the country, after a 10 year absence in UK to set up a lingerie and sex toys shop, according to media outlets, targeting “women looking to stay loyal to their travelling husbands.”
All-white Party to Celebrate Genius Kadungure's Birthday in South Africa 
Her marriage was a matchmaking venture. Vanessa had a $65 000 wedding in the Seychelles, showcasing power, abundance and fame. Far from the madding and meddling crowd of Harare – it was graced by 50 guests only.

A honeymoon abroad also followed. Soon after, they were erecting a plush home, with two bars and a large pool.

Daily struggle

Recently, a well-wisher donated shoes to rural school pupils. They ululated. It was something they never dreamt of their entire lives, after walking to school barefoot for more than 10 kilometers daily.

Yet, Wicknell Chivayo is spoilt for choice in picking a pair of sneakers for the day.

Regular long queues are now common for the lees fortunate to access hard earned cash from banks, dispensing a maximum of $50 (R650), if one is luck. In contrast, rich patrons flash tips of $20 to waitrons for good service.

Their dressing taste is distinctive, dominated by designer labels shipped from exclusive shops in Europe. On the street, they sprint in posh cars, while the country peers into financial abyss.

Huge egos plus elaborate lifestyles of the elite are only matched by extensive mansions on golf estates, bordered by lush green greenery, while the majority tussles for a bucket of water for domestic use.

“The wealthy few who embrace luxurious and extravagant lifestyles impose a great burden on the environment because they acquire so many possessions, and then use them in particularly profligate ways. Many have private jets and super yachts,” said Professor Peter Wells from Cardiff University.

This indulgence was matched by Genius Kadungure in 2013, when he airlifted his networks to Botswana to celebrate his birthday, blowing a whopping $32 000.

God’s blessing

Chiyangwa, the flashy property developer, nicknamed the ‘King of Selfies’ parades a fleet of Mercedes, Chrysler Cross Fire and Rolls Royce. His White House residence in Harare is a 35-roomed mansion, dwarfing adjacent guesthouses.

“It is a gift from God. It is a blessing from God. I know people are hungry and we are very grateful for what has been done for us,” stated Elizabeth Chiyangwa.

The richest Zimbabwean, Strive Masiyiwa is worth around $600 000 million. But his meekness and philanthropy elevated him into the world’s most 100 influential individuals for 2017.

“I never sold shares, except at the beginning, to help build the largest church in the country. Over the years I just continue to buy whenever I had some cash. Even today I still hold less than 50 percent of that particular business. The public hold the majority,” reasoned the telecommunications mogul.

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