By Takemore Mazuruse
He is only 35, but his hunger for success is astounding. Venda by tribe and raised by a single mother, Godfrey “Chief” Koti believes he has found his footing in a generally busy and demanding world and the future looks even more promising.
Growing up in Plumtree, the young professional was exposed to a lot of activities, including one of his passions, cricket, at an early stage and he is thankful to his mother Clementine Mudawu for going all out to make sure that he and his siblings had a decent upbringing.
“I was brought up in Bulawayo and Beitbridge thanks to my enterprising mother and uncle John Mudawu who had to put all the stops towards raising the promising and self-confident young man that I have grown to be,” Koti said.
“Life was never easy given the cultural and general life demands that I had to cope with but thanks to the strong family culture and moral support, I have come this far. I am also a proud father to two handsome boys, namely Zwashu Noah and Psano Koti.”
For all the success that he has attained over the years ranging from development work in his early career days, a cricket playing and administration stint, a dance in the mainstream print electronic media where he rose from a stringer for various publications and from a mere presenter at Star FM through to head of Digital Services at the Zimpapers Group and subsequently head of Corporate Affairs for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Koti remains humble and level-headed and believes he owes his success to God and support from his mentors and spiritual partnerss.
“I am happy to have come this far in terms of my career path. I believe I have carved my own niche in terms of how I project myself as a professional and all this has been possible thanks to hard work and making sure I deliver in spite of the limitations and backbiting in this dogs-eat-dog corporate world,” he said.
“My secret to success is that I stay glued to God. I have solid advisors spiritually who pray with and for me and I want to particularly single out one Daniel Chirinda and Berrington Mutembedza for being trusted prayer partners, mentors and pillars of support.”
For a man of his age, Koti’s role at the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, where he has served for two years to date, involves a lot, especially in a digital world where everyone has got an opinion about brand Zimbabwe and what goes on at the tourism mother body, but he remains focused regardless.
“My head corporate affairs role at ZTA entails public relations, media management, industry relations, protocol issues, perception management, destination Zimbabwe communication around good will generation and brand Zimbabwe management and it has all been quite a rollercoaster,” he said.
“It is not easy managing the image of a country at a time we have various players and individuals sharing their viewpoints which are in some instances contrary to what you are fighting to project, but all the same it has been an enriching experience.”
Koti told Standard Style that handling image management and destination Zimbabwe marketing at this juncture in Zimbabwe’s history is no stroll in the park, but he has confidence in Zimbabwe and its people and he hopes for a marked change of fortunes.
“We are dealing with an image and perception building exercise at a very precarious time in our history, especially after 37 years of a country that had a lot of promise, but things didn’t go right,” he said.
“I, however, believe and trust that there will be a change of fortunes and Zimbabweans working together will help project the country in good light and in so doing promote destination Zimbabwe and generate the requisite goodwill to massage this low hanging tourism tree to produce the much-needed fruits.”
The young communications and public relations professional also spoke on the need for citizens to see beyond political affiliation and orientation so as to help project the country in good light for the common good.
“As a country we need to correct the self-hate beyond the political dispensations because politics aside, we have the brand Zimbabwe to protect and safeguard and the sooner we realise that the better,” he said.
“Those in the digital space must champion the movement and help project Zimbabwe in good light so that in doing we attract the right things our way.”
The past few years of Koti’s life have seen him enjoying great career successes and he believes it’s the right season and God has been the power behind all the milestones.
“It has been an exciting two-and-a-half years and I can confidently say I have enjoyed great success dating back to launching the very first outside broadcast at Star FM to the current milestones at ZTA,” he said.
“Various awards have come my way with the most recent ones being Communication Personality of the Year award from the Zimbabwe Business Awards [ZIBA], as well as the Young Public Relations Practitioner of the Year award from the Institute of Public Relations and Communications Zimbabwe [IPRCZ],” he said.
Moving into 2020, Koti said he is excited about the prospects and hopes to be part of a young and vibrant generation that tells the Zimbabwean story in a way that attracts economic growth and advocates for strength in diversity for the nation and its citizens both as an individual and under the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority auspices.
“I believe we have room to create the best reputation managers through initiatives that are born in Zimbabwe and I want to be part of that movement of a brand of young executives that are doing well for Zimbabwe and Africa because our story is very good and inspiring,” Koti said.
“The same spirit will also inspire our work at ZTA where we are blessed to have an astute and highly supportive leader, our CEO Givemore Chidzidzi, who has given us the strategic direction and guidance. This 2020 we should see a very different ZTA in terms of our management of issues and we will be more engaging than ever before.”
As he continues to exert himself in his career, Koti also saluted the entire senior executive management team at ZTA, the board and new minister for their attention to detail which he said would see 2020 being a springboard for tourism in the country.
The ZTA head of corporate affairs, who is taking marketing management studies with Midlands State University, said he was hoping to grow his spiritual life, meaningfully contribute to marketing destination Zimbabwe while impacting those around him.
“My hope is to be a blessing to others through an inspired life that is ordered by God. I have various interests and passions of my own that I intend to nurture and further develop this year for the common good,” he said.
“I, therefore, encourage every one of us to live their purpose and pursue excellence. To Zimbabweans at large, I urge us to throw away the self hate. Let’s love ourselves and work had to build the future we want.”
As a parting shot, Koti singled out the various vision helpers and friends that have helped nurture and propel him among them past ZTA CEO Karikoga Kaseke, his friend and youth activist Acie Lumumba, Intimate Store founder Mandlenkosi Ndlovu, his partner and soulmate who has been with him through thick and thin, and little Tadiwa and Makanaka who inspire his daily life routine.
The respected young pacesetter in the local corporate world also attributed his unrelenting drive and discipline to the inspiration he gets from his two sons.