Our father who art in money
If you are as rich as Phillip Chiyangwa, do you have time for your children
The Sunday Mail Lifestyle tracked down the family to the famous Chiyangwa Borrowdale home, also popularly known as White House, to find out how one of the most famous families in the country get to do when they are at home, over the weekend. Unfortunately, the Sunday trip didn’t yield much, there was only Phillip at home, only because he knew we were coming, thus had to skip church. Of 11 children, Phillip was home alone. This was explained as follows: Ellen (28), the eldest daughter, is out of the country and studying in the United Kingdom, so is Tamara, who is doing her high school somewhere in the Scottish uplands and so is Stephanie, who is working in the cold parts of Europe. Bruce, the eldest of the dozen children, has since moved out of the family home and is now staying in Gunhill, so is Edmund, who is now staying alone. But the rest of the children stay at the family home, but had gone to church.
Because of the different schedules in their lifestyles, it was arranged that we meet all the Zimbabwean-based of Phillip Chiyangwa’s children at the family business offices in Alexandra Park, last Thursday, where they all work, or interact.
Bruce, ex-pilot and buyer (28 years)
Though Bruce claims he is half of Pinnacle Holdings, truth is he is half of Phillip Chiyangwa, if not a carbon copy of the father. At 28, he is yet to attain the towering physical stature of his father but he is as talkative, as pompous and as obtrusive. "I work with my father and for my father, so I have a reason to be like him. For instance, I have learnt to be aggressive in life, something that my father is always like."
Bruce and his father are always hand-in-glove "and if there is anyone who knows where Phillip is at any time, it is me. If for any reason he has to divert his three cellphone lines, he diverts them to me. But I tell you there is a downside to being Phillip Chiyangwa’s child: you are always seen in your father’s light; no one wants to take you as you are."
Bruce reckons there is a pastime that Phillip loves that nobody knows about — boxing. "He can phone you at 2am and ask you if you are watching the boxing match on television. He loves his boxing. And kung-fu, he loves it too. That is why he named me Bruce, after Bruce Lee.
"Another characteristic, which I think is very bad, is that he is hard-working; he does not believe in sleeping. He thinks sleeping is a waste of time, because someone would be making money the time he would be sleeping. So it is not surprising that he phones me and asks me to meet him at the bank at 5am, and his bankers now understand him, they open for him. Yet another passion is clothes and cars. He loves them to bits.
"The bad side? Well, he can harass but he does it for the good of us. If he wants something to be done, it has to be done, whatever it takes."
Edmund, business development manager (25 years)
I have heard the several things that have been said about my father, but he is a wonderful, a very respectable man in society. I would like to be like him. We have a good relationship. What I like about him particularly is that he is always in a positive frame of mind. It is very rare for him to think negatively. In fact, he is broad-minded. I really appreciate that I have a father like that and I am truly blessed.
Brian, human resources manager (23 years)
Phillip is my role model, he is my teacher. He is more than a father to me. He does not take "no" for an answer and he is very aggressive when it comes to doing business. He has taught me to be confident, he is actually my inspiration. During the weekends we spend time together, sometime we go out as boys, and when we go out as boys we will be like brothers. If we are not going leisurely, we are visiting our properties and making decisions. The positives I have learnt from him, it’s all about dignity and integrity — he is not a failure, not a loser. What he starts, he makes sure he finishes.
Tatenda, work site manager (21 years)
I spend most of the time with my father as a father because he does not have time as a businessman to his children. To me he is a father figure and I have learnt a lot from him. He is always business-minded, tries a lot — he is adventurous. He is a loving person and I really feel proud to be his son.
Mitchell, student (19 years)
I have just finished my Upper Six in the United Kingdom and am going back at the end of August to start my university studies in Leicester.
I spend a lot of time with my father, especially here at the office. As only girls are allowed into his meetings, we get to see how he makes his decisions or arrives at some of his conclusions. I haven’t been around for more than a year and to say what the routine will be like, I would be lying. But if we are at the office, we have an office lunch as a family. At weekends, sometimes we go fishing, like Lake Chivero. There are challenges to be Phillip Chiyangwa’s daughter, obviously. It is annoying at times but at times you feel like a celebrity. He has taught me to follow my goals in life, to follow my dream — I love him very much. I love him because I look like him as well, I have a round face.
Lerato, student (18 years)
I am in my first year at the Cape Town International Hotel School, studying hotel management. To me Phillip is a great dad and most of the time we chill together, like watching movies, having lunches — I think we have enough time together as a family. See, almost everyone works here so we are all here together most of the time.
Cherish, student (14 years)
I am doing Form 3 at the Harare International School and I do a lot of things with my dad. For instance, when I get here after school and he is about to go out, he asks me to accompany him. We can do the smallest of things, like going for ice cream. I’m getting that close to him. I see how he runs his business. I have learnt from him to be the best and yearn for the best, always. Like I am the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at school where I play basketball, it’s all in the inspiration that I get from my father. The advantage of being a Phillip Chiyangwa daughter is that I managed to get a lot of privileges in life that otherwise I could not have got. I love my dad and would not change the world for him.
Phillip Chiyangwa Jnr, pupil (10 years)
Also known as Junior, Phillip Chiyangwa is the apple of the eye in the Chiyangwa household. Even Bruce, the eldest of the kraal, acknowledged that this one gets all the family attention — and gets what he wants. In Shona parlance, that would be mwana wegotwe. Admittedly, Junior says he gets all the time that he wants, goes for lunch with the old man when he wants: "We spend a lot of time together." He is doing Grade 5 at St John’s School.