Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

“The only Ndebele with money in Harare”: Augustine Moyo… a larger-than-life character

By Garikai Mazara

Augustine Moyo, the former Sunday Mail Business Editor and Zimbabwe National Road Authority’s first public relations manager, who died on Africa Day in a freak accident, was buried on Friday afternoon in Marondera’s Paradise Cemetery.

RAW BOUNDLESS PASSION . . . If there is any picture that really captures the great romance between Highlanders and its fans, then it has to be this one, captured by the Gemazo photographer at Rufaro, where this former ZINARA executive, Augustine Moyo, shirtless and pregnant with emotion, screams after Bosso scored against DeMbare (Picture by Gemazo)

Born on September 29, 1982 and growing up in Bulawayo’s Queens Park suburb, Moyo attended Thomas Rudland Junior School before going to Fatima Secondary School.

After completing his secondary education, Moyo briefly worked for a pie-making outlet in Bulawayo before enrolling at UMAA Institute in Marondera for his journalism course.

On completing the course, he worked for The Financial Gazette for a short time and then joined The Sunday Mail as a cub business reporter. When Brian Chipoyera, then The Sunday Mail Business Editor, left in 2007, Moyo filled in his shoes.

He was to leave The Sunday Mail in 2012 to become Zinara’s first public relations manager.

He left the road authority in December 2019 to pursue personal interests. Highly affable and ever-jovial, Moyo’s funeral service in Marondera on Friday almost went according to script as it turned out to be a motor show. Moyo was highly passionate about cars.

Also, as testament to his colourful and all-encompassing demeanour, the who-is-who of Bulawayo, Harare and Marondera turned out for his burial.

From internationally acclaimed dub poet, Albert Nyathi, Impala Car Hire’s Thomson Dondo, entertainment entrepreneur Josh Hozheri, his former UMAA principal Dr Cleopas Kundiona, neighbour and Marondera businessman and music promoter Daniel Masaiti, radio personality Pathisani Sibanda, National Arts Council director Nicholas Moyo, Reverend Paul Damasane, Gilfern Moyo (Zinara’s human resources manager) to journalists from almost every media house. It was a befitting send-off.

Augustine Moyo
Augustine Moyo

Speaker after speaker gave varying testimonies of the many dimensions of Moyo’s life.

The following is this writer’s tribute to Moyo, which was initially published by The Sunday Mail Online mid-week, following the heart-breaking news of Moyo’s demise.

Augustine Moyo was temperamental, highly temperamental, but not even judgemental.

“The only Ndebele with money in Harare,” he would boast, adding tongue-in-cheek, “you Shonas are lazy, that is why we came here to colonise you.”

But that is not to say he was tribalistic, far from it. He was just human.

Fallible, just like any of us, but not entirely gullible. When he walked into The Sunday Mail newsroom, just in the middle of the past decade, he was Bible-clutching and God-fearing.

He would quote the Bible to no end, verse after verse. But as he was exposed more to journalism and its earthly sprinklings, Augustine quoted the Bible even less and took to finding solace in the wise waters.

Still that didn’t make him a lesser human being — he remained the ever-jovial, smiling and ever-bragging character.

It must have been 2007 or 2008 when he borrowed my Mazda 626 “because I want to visit my gogo”, and that transaction was to be a source of our constant “haggling” over the coming years.

“MuShona”, he would spit, “your ramshackle couldn’t even take me to Bulawayo. I even had to buy tyres for it and also had it serviced. It would have been better if I had approached a car hire company.”

That was one of his many sides.

But most of those who have had the privilege of interacting with him will tell of an enterprising character, a personality that would have an eye for any opportunity.

He introduced BeForward — the online Japanese pre-owned car sale company — to many in the newsroom. He was one of the first guys to know how to buy cars online, probably explained by his love for cars.

And to boot, he did a motoring column for The Sunday Mail, at times going to as much depth as detailing the amount of water a wheel will displace on the tarmac when travelling at a given speed.

When it came to cars, he knew which, where, how and when each model was made.

He might have taken his enthusiasm for cars a bit too much, at one point accumulating a fleet of cars that would make many a car hire green with envy. This love for cars made him an envy of many, especially those in the journalism fraternity, as much as it drew criticism on his investment options.

“MuShona, they can say whatever they want, these are my cars. I didn’t borrow money from anyone to buy them. Let them ride scotch-carts that they are used to,” he would retort back.

And if he wasn’t talking about his fleet of cars, he would be bragging about his dogs: “The grocery for my dogs is much more than you would buy for your family, MuShona. Actually yesterday I was in Makro buying their monthly grocery.”

A really larger-than-life character, Augustine was the embodiment of a Highlanders supporter: unapologetic, fanatic and always full of zeal.

One of the iconic images ever captured at Rufaro Stadium must be of him standing, shirtless, on the rails of the northern end, or the City End, of the stadium.

And he followed the team wherever it played, Barbourfields, Rufaro or the gigantic National Sports Stadium.

That was Augustine.

His other weakness was the love for the dance floor, whatever kind of music, though he loved South African and Bulawayo music all the more. He had his trademark dance, where he would get parallel to the ground, and raise each leg alternately.

A party or wedding would be incomplete without Augustine getting onto the dance floor.

Back to cars. Besides loving cars, Augustine loved speed.

“I have gone to Bulawayo in three hours, MuShona.”

And he wouldn’t be bluffing, that was him. On the highway, his minimum speed was 180km/hr — 200 was a norm and 220 was the “right speed” to travel with. So when news started filtering through, in the morning after Africa Day, many must have assumed that given it was a holiday, it must have been speed that snuffed the life out of the 38-year-old.

The 70km stretch to Marondera, his hometown, was half-an-hour away, given his “need for speed”. In July 2016, after one of our several “altercations”, I posted on Facebook, chiding him for being a fake character, to which he responded:

“Anyway, on my graveside you will have an hour to tell about our escapades. Kkkkkk. Not anytime soon though so I have years of making up to do. Remember you said you will write about everything in your obituary so I have to make good lest you write the unthinkable. Knowing my good friend, MuShona. Foul-mouthed as usual. Kkkk . . . ”

It was a joke, and I never thought I would get down to write about my times and life with one of the most colourful characters to have graced the journalism fraternity in the past two decades.

Married to Chantelle and blessed with two daughters, Charisma and Rebecca and a son, Ethan, it would be safe to say Augustine lived half-a-century, that is 50 years, in the past 15 years. He was such a colourful character, and enjoyed every second of it. Sunday Mail