“I am a goal driven man with a lofty vision for a great future, and this natural zeal inspired me to rise above my background or national challenges and slowly through hard work and resilience I nurtured myself into an entrepreneur who firmly believes that hard work always pays off,” said Brighton Bako.
BY DON MAKANYANGA
Such is the mould and tenacity of one who rose from the proverbial dust cited in the scriptures plucked from the faceless crowd and propelled to the pinnacle of success.
Upon passing his A’ Levels in 2002, Bako wanted to pursue further studies and hopefully get a comfortably paying job with the view of changing his family’s fortunes.
But that was at the peak of economic challenges in Zimbabwe and as fate would have it, the desire suffered a stillbirth, as he found himself being a second-hand cell-phone dealer in the capital Harare.
However, the entrepreneurial drive in Bako would not see him confined forever to the streets.
Bako, who grew up in Harare, would during holidays go to his rural home in Zhombe, where he would assist his late grandmother in alluvial gold panning.
This was to become his launchpad for success as that ignited in him the desire to take mining seriously. He started off as a gold buyer but today he is all smiles as he has managed to establish various companies, namely Prolific Boreholes, Bako Blue Mining Company and Blackinx Investments which specialises in mining and borehole drilling.
Although he feels he has not arrived yet, the businessman has every reason to trace his journey.
“I was born and bred in Harare and I attended Zimphos Primary School and several secondary schools and went on to play for Davchem Football Club when I was doing my Lower Six and played alongside former Dynamos striker Norman Maroto,” he said.
And the man has his grandmother to thank for opening his mind to the world of mining.
He reckons the life teachings of his grandmother have helped him become one of the leading miners in the country at such a tender age.
“It was during the school holidays that I would help my late grandmother in Zhombe who was a gold panner and would find myself at such a tender age helping in panning. As I grew up, I had an interest in gold mining and armed with that experience, I registered with Fidelity to be a gold buyer in my rural area and started buying and selling gold and registering mine claims and sponsoring small-scale miners going to the mills, up to the time that I opened up my own milling centre in 2013 and then started exploration of minerals,” he said.
As if it was not enough, as someone who was interested in mining, Bako went on to learn about borehole drilling in South Africa at a friend’s company, humbling himself in a quest to go through the three-month life changing experience.
“I had to humble myself for three months and went to South Africa where a friend of mine was into borehole drilling and did a lot of travelling in those dirty lorries. I did this because I wanted to have a hands-on approach of what we would do here”.
After having done practicals Bako founded his borehole drilling company — Prolific Boreholes — with one of the most notable achivements being a Sentosa borehole, which supports close to 90% of the surburb’s population and drilling of the First Lady Grace Mugabe Children’s Home boreholes in Mazowe.
“Today I stand proud of the lessons that I acquired through life skills. I got a tender to drill four boreholes at Amai Grace Mugabe’s orphanage and we did a borehole which supplies 90% of the Sentosa population and runs from December to January and we continue to strive for the best since borehole water now seems to be the choice of most people,” said the 32-year-old entrepreneur.
He said starting a business from nothing requires discipline and loyalty while also not confining oneself to the current position.
“One thing I would like to say to the young ones who are into small businesses is that they should not confine themselves in a comfort zone and they should not be afraid to dream bigger things in life.
“There are doors out there that can be opened and a lot that one can do bigger, instead of being bound to one thing. They must not be scared of bigger things or opportunities, they must see far like an eagle.
“They should not be afraid to approach the government and other investors to do business, especially in mining and there is a lot that can be done in Zimbabwe like small-scale mining, market gardening and other things. They must go out there and look for partners and also there are investors who are willing to partner young Zimbabweans and this is an opportunity for the young ones to lure investors into the country.”
Having been a vendor at one time, Bako views street vending not as the limit for one’s potential, but an opportunity that should instead be used as a stepping stone for greater things in life as it prepares one for a more challenging business world.
“Vending brings you to life, it gives you foundation to open your eyes but you cannot grow if you continue to do the same thing over a period of time, so I urge my fellow young people to be innovative and source for investments and partners,” said Bako.
He is also a member of a Zimbabwe Entrepreneur Youth Action (Zeya), a group which focuses on empowering youths to overcome economic barriers,
“I am inspired by James Pande, president of Zeya. He taught me to be vibrant as a young person and go out there and look out for investors and not to sit and hope that everything will come to us while we are sitting,” Bako said.