By Robin Muchetu
A giant gone to sleep.That’s probably an apt description of the late businessman and philanthropist, Worthwhile Mugabe who died on New Year’s and was laid to rest at Umvutsha Park Cemetery in Bulawayo yesterday.
Mugabe succumbed to Covid-19, two days short of his 53rd birthday at the prestigious Health Point Upper East Medical Centre in Belgravia, Harare after having gone to seek medical attention.
It was a sombre atmosphere as his body made a brief stopover at his Selbourne Park home before the hearse made its way to the cemetery.
Relatives and friends wailed uncontrollably as all they could do was view the hearse with the casket which could not be opened for body viewing in line with the Covid-19 guidelines. The five-minute stop-over just outside his home was to allow mourners to pay their last respects.
Business came to a standstill in Bulawayo Central Business District as members of the public took a glimpse of the hearse that was carrying his two-toned metallic grey casket and the make of the vehicles that made up most of his convoy as they accompanied him to his final resting place.
The public could not help but watch the slow-moving convoy along the streets of the city with some pulling away from the road to allow its smooth passage.
One of his brothers and business partners said he failed to see him when he came to Harare as he was not allowed into the institution because of Covid-19 regulations.
He described Mugabe as a soft-spoken man who was focused on growing his business empire.
“Initially our father wanted him to take a career in the church as a man of the cloth as he himself was a teacher and man of the cloth. But Worthy chose a different path although he was a member of the Jehova’s Witnesses Church,” he said.
One of his best friends, Mr Earnest Taruvinga said he had lost a best friend.
“He was my best friend, we actually learnt together. We come very far together, we are having a difficult time to deal with this, the best people in our lives are going,” he said.
His neighbour Mr Ndabezinhle Maseko could not hide his grief as he described the late Mugabe as always ready to assist wherever he could.
“Worthwhile was my neighbour, he used to call me makhelwane, whenever he was around, we would often meet and speak at length on life and anything of concern. He was like a brother to me and a friend. If you look outside our gates there are identical slabs that are bordering the lawn.
He came and offered to put the slabs on my side of the yard. He was that caring. I have lost a great neighbour and I don’t know how we are going to continue without him,” said Mr Maseko.
Mr Felix Matsikidze who was one of Mugabe’s employees at High Peak Cables in the transport department said they had lost a boss who was hard working and business oriented.
“I joined when there was a fleet of five trucks and we managed to build the fleet to 20 trucks in just five years under his leadership, we built a strong relationship over time under his stewardship.
He was a visionary, he would look at an opportunity, assess it fully until it reached fruition. It’s a big loss, we will do our best to maintain that vision and trajectory that he wanted the business to take,” said Mr Matsikidze.
Born in Gutu on 2 January 1968, Mugabe did his primary education at Ranga Primary School from 1974 to 1980. He then moved to complete his secondary education at Chiredzi High School between 1981 and 1986.
Soon after completing his high school he started working as a packer at the then TM Hyper Supermarket in Bulawayo when it opened in 1986.
In 1988 he left and joined Enfield Electricals where he worked as a driver and that is when he cut his teeth in the world of entrepreneurship selling “anything” that gave him the dollar, according to his brother.
He is said to have sold watches that he would buy in Botswana and that marked his first steps of being a business mogul that he was at the time of his death.
In 1991 Worthy, as he was fondly called, moved and started working for Cafca Cables as a driver again and was subsequently promoted to a sales representative in 1993. That same year he quit and started High Peak Cables and Hardware in 1994 where he sold electrical gadgets, components and an assortment of other consumables but with a strong bias towards electric ones.
In 1999 together with his elder brother they started DSK Electricals in Harare and later changed it to Power House Electrical Wholesalers.
In 2003 the brothers started DSK Electricals in Bulawayo and later, Mugabe started Worthwhile Investments where he ventured into a variety of business ventures such as operating lodges, companies in South Africa and had recently ventured into farming in Mvuma at the time of his death.
Mugabe’s family said he had no known children and was single when he breathed his last. He is survived by his five siblings. The Sunday News