A Look At Genius Kadungure's Business Acumen!

Last week I decided to conduct research into service provision within the construction industry. This was precipitated by the poor services I had received from the service providers who are renovating the house that I am living in. 

All my construction industry research was put aside as I woke up to the news that Genius Kadungure, aka “ Ginimbi” and three other passengers had perished in his Rolls Royce on Sunday morning.

The horror of that crash and the captured cries for help from one of the female passengers left us all “shell shocked” and traumatised. The stark reality of death reverberated into our minds.

How does a young man with so much life who had been partying up a storm, hours earlier, end up being covered with leaves on the side of the road?

And how do two fathers, nonchalantly view their children’s death as inevitable to the point of almost expecting their tragic demise. The story of a “slay queen” who hours had been enjoying a rather peculiar birthday party had all us deflated and depressed.

Written By Joseline Sithole
In our highly patriarchal society, Moana’s entrepreneurship skills will not be remembered. She was a dancer, having featured on Jah Prayzah’s albums, a fitness instructor and a brand ambassador for Nash paints. All we will remember, are those eerie cries inside a burning Rolls Royce.

Indeed, while Ginimbi’s funeral will be all lavish together with a “rumoured” Versace coffin, his family is begging for well-wishers to fund her funeral.

I went and dug into my archives to investigate what I now call the “Ginimbi Phenomena”. Ollie Williams, a senior contributor with Forbes Magazine in her article, “The strange rituals of the super-rich” unpacks the business mindset behind serious partying by the world’s super-rich. Interestingly, there is a whole value chain to go with it.

According to Williams, girls, most of the models or Instagram influencers, are recruited by promoters. Promoters are paid by clubs to bring girls to their big party nights. Clubs with girls attract millionaires and billionaires like “moths to a flame”. And then the spending begins.

Williams postulates that spending is a “spectator sport” and though the host who is called a “whale” loses a lot of money he gains recognition among his peers. Girl capital ensures that invitations to the very rich are accepted as no billionaire wants to dine and wine with ordinary folk.

Williams, concludes by saying that “Clients leverage girl capital to get coveted invitations to parties that might lead to financially enriching deals.” The retail side involves the supply of over the top liquor with unbelievable price tags.

Ginimbi’s last video shows liquor being delivered in a mini red car.

Looking into our history we rarely see the “hard parters” surviving for long. Paul Walker, the famous actor from the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, met his demise in a Porsche.

He could only be identified through dental records. James Dean, a young Hollywood actor was killed in California when the Porsche hit another car at an intersection.

The small city of Mutare had its own “Ginimbi”. Bothwell Hlahla was given a huge send-off besides being one of the top illegal diamond dealers in the city.

He left behind a fleet of vehicles, properties and several children. The police actually issued out a moratorium for all the women who had a child with “Bothy” to come forward with birth certificates so that the children could be included in their father’s inheritance. (We hear there was a very long queue at the police station). However, love him or not there were some visible traces of entrepreneurial acumen by Ginimbi.

What Ginimbi did right in business

There is no doubt that Ginimbi was an astute businessman. His friends have come out “guns blazing” against those who are questioning the source of his wealth. He started his “hustle” at a very young age where he saw opportunities in supplying gas to the local population.

Ginimbi was the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Pioneer Gas, which operates in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, way back before Ginimbi had recognised an opportunity in this market and set out to fulfil the needs of the consumer.

He had diversified interests and a product portfolio within his group of companies. Not only were his interests in the gas industry, but he had also penetrated the entertainment and retail industry.

Perhaps one of the most powerful tools Ginimbi used to grow his brand was his social media footprint. He exuded class and confidence which overtly depicted his companies as successful thus strengthening their brands.

He elevated other big brands such as Versace of which he was a firm follower.

Though I am not a big fan of Ginimbi’s extravagance (just look at that car garage), I would like to play the devil’s advocate. Certainly, there is scope for someone to enjoy their hard-earned cash.

A former minister described Ginimbi as a “young man who worked and enjoyed hard”. Throughout the world, there are other big spenders of note. Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club is one such spender.

In the book “London Grad: From Russia with Cash” the author cites a visit the billionaire had to Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, craving for sushi overtook him.

When he could not find it in his host country he ordered that it should be flown from his favourite restaurant in London making it one of the world’s most expensive takeaways. The bill, US$ 40 000 for hiring a private jet. (Uuumh imagine how the pilot was feeling with the only passenger being a sushi platter).
A Look At Genius Kadungure's Business Acumen!
A Look At Genius Kadungure's Business Acumen!

In the same breath, there are some billionaire “penny pinchers” or “scrooge savers” out there. Sergey Brin, Google founder with net worth US$15 billion allegedly lives in a small three-roomed apartment and drives an inexpensive Toyota.

Kamprad the founder of IKEA shop network sleeps in Three Star hotels and wears cheap clothing. As of 2013, Warren Buffet owned a Vintage Nokia Flip mobile phone.

All these examples are a bit extreme of course but a holiday or two will certainly not hurt if you have some “spare change” in your business.

The business controversies

A lot of people have come out on social media, criticising the way Ginimbi acquired his wealth. They cite the use of “juju” as the main source of his wealth.

Wicknell Chivayo, another young big spender has come out in his defence.

He had this to say, “If you don’t work hard, you will be calling successful people Satanists, criminals and prostitutes for the rest of your life.”

However, our young man can do well to understand that building a business empire requires patience and dedication.

Moral perception of big spenders

Who are we then to judge how people spend their hard-earned money? Conversations on how the rich should spend their money have been rife since time immemorial.

So there are conflicts about how to be wealthy and morally worthy. In her groundbreaking book “Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence”, Rachel Sherman argues that there will never be an agreement on how the rich should spend their money. She points out that trying to be “worthy of privilege at the top of the income distribution is not the same as blaming oneself of being blamed for economic struggle at the bottom”.

I will conclude with the story of the Zimbabwe Republic Police steel coffin. Indeed as I saw Ginimbi’s body being loaded into that coffin, and onto the back of a pickup truck, I wondered what story it would tell about the people it has carried; CEOs, prostitutes, vagabonds, millionaires like Ginimbi and many others.

And indeed I wondered what it would say about wealth. All is vanity; but, if we have used our wealth to better our society then we would have done something worthy and worthwhile.

I will conclude with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “When you play, play hard, when your work doesn’t play at all.”

To all those who lost their lives that fateful Sunday, may your dear souls rest in peace.
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