…challenges female promoters
Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
Music promoter and successful Mashonaland West farmer, Sikhangezile Gumbo who turned 50 on Monday has challenged female entrepreneurs to up the game.
Better known as Mai Gumbo in showbiz circles, the affable promoter who is credited for hosting Zimbabwe’s household names in her province, is hoping for the good times to return.
She is also one of the promoters who invested a lot in entertainment having completed a million-dollar one stop shopping mall in Raffingora.
The multi-purpose facility, which comes with booking houses, two night clubs, outdoor live performance area and two restaurants among other cubicles which can be turned into rented shops, was due for official o her birthday.
Sadly, the unveiling ceremony has been deferred until further notice as a result of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Despite the lockdown which has resulted in public gatherings being banned, Mai Gumbo reckons the facility will be fully operational once the pandemic has been controlled or suppressed.
In her birthday message over the phone from Rafingora, Mai Gumbo challenged women to work hard.
- HARD WORK
The usually hyperactive Mai Gumbo said it was never too late for female entrepreneurs to try other careerpaths long perceived to be for men.
“I’m one person who has tried to challenge men in the I do because I know I am capable.
“I started off as a farmer and late diversified into mining and music promotions.
“I was encouraged by the likes of Alick Macheso and the late Tongai Moyo to pursue music promotions.
“I realised that people in Raffingora and its environment needed entertainment and I build a big stage where these household names like Macheso, Progress Chipfumo, Nicholas Zakaria and many others can perform.
“I then processed my paper work as a music promoter to give revellers in Mashonaland a cheer,” she said.
She however said it was not easy as a female promoter and business woman.
“We are usually bullied in business as some powerful people take advantage of us.
“In as far as hosting live shows is concerned, I have never been troubled.
“I would be lying that I had had challenges artistes since I deal with the level-headed entertainers,” she said.
Mai Gumbo who over the years has been awarded among the best farmers in Mashonaland West said he was ready to leave a legacy.
“Today (yesterday) is my 50th birthday and when I look back from where I came from, I’m really humbled.
“At the moment, I am proud to have groomed my children who have also ventured into farming.
“My eldest daughter Mercy is now following in my footsteps even though she is doing others things in Harare.
“When the planting season is underway, she will be here and I am proud of her of course her siblings who are also doing well,” she said.
- COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Mai Gumbo is upbeat the good times will be back.
“It’s a passing phase and we need to adhere to what our leaders and health experts are telling us.
“We are in a tight situation where life is at stake and we are in these trying times to ensure that we are safe wherever we are.
“In my case, I had just finished construction of a new complex which comes with booking houses, restaurants and bottle stores but I hope I will officially open them once normalcy prevails.
“I wanted to officially open the complex on my 50th birthday but due to the Covid-19 pandemic we will have to wait a bit longer.
“I can’t defy Government because I will be in trouble with the law,” she said.
Like any other successful businesswoman, Mai Gumbo is not spared from haters.
“Focus and hard work have taken me this far and this could be the reason why you see that I am still in the game.
“Life as a businesswoman is not easy because we go through a lot of obstacles.
“At times we are ridiculed or short-changed but what is important is to remain focused.
“I have also come to a point where I now know my priorities well as a business woman,” she said.
Despite the Covid-19 era which has seen many people’s earnings vanish, Mai Gumbo remains hopeful.
“Things might be tough now but we can’t afford to lose hope.
“We need to embrace new challenges and change the modus operandi.
“We need to adhere to what health experts are telling us as well as observing all the precautions that have been set,” she said.