BY STYLE CORRESPONDENT
Known back home as a humble businessman, South Africa-based Zimbabwean entrepreneur Justice Maphosa — chief executive and founder of Bigtime Strategic Group — has all, but shown that compassion and a Godly call to serve humanity should never be limited to one’s home country as he has become a household name across the Limpopo.
The owner of the international conglomerate with interests in various economic sectors, including aviation, farming, information technology and farming, has for years now been on a philanthropic spree, from building schools for economically challenged South African communities, to paying salaries for the teachers and other staff members.
A man who rose like a Phoenix, from very humble beginnings to become an admired business owner, Maphosa has remained rooted in his philanthropic work.
In the Eastern Cape province, Maphosa has transformed Upper Corana Junior Primary School into a modern learning institute, and regularly donates uniforms and stationery to the learners.
In a telephone interview, Mavis Nomandla Manqina, who is the principal of the school in Lebode, said Maphosa has adopted the school like “a personal child”.
“When you speak of Mr Justice Maphosa, to us you speak about a father of our community. I am the principal of Upper Corana Junior Primary School in Lebode, Eastern Cape,” Manqina said.
“To us, Mr Maphosa has adopted this school as his child, and he ensures that we are taken care of in different ways as the school needs.
“We cannot say he has been a friend to us, but he is family. He is a man who saved our community, and revived hope in our children. We have known Mr Maphosa for over five years now.
“We knew him when we were desperately looking for a sponsor who could help our school. Our learners are affected heavily by poverty in this area, and many of them are orphans due to the HIV pandemic.”
Manqina also said besides transforming the delapidated infrastructure, Maphosa has also availed salaries for four extra teachers.
“He has added four teachers to our school administration, whom he pays for, monthly. He has also added hospitality staff who support our teaching staff.”
Maphosa, according to the principal, has stood by his word when he committed that he would provide school uniforms, stationery and other basic needs for learners.
Some Zimbabweans based in South Africa began to know of Maphosa when he rose to the occasion last year — during the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, which worsened poverty and unemployment.
“Working with the Zimbabwe consulate and the embassy, Maphosa came through and assisted quite a number of our people,” said chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, Nicholas Ngqabutho Mabhena.
“The Consulate was broke and could not assist anyone. So, Maphosa came in and hired buses to ferry people back home. People had lost jobs and hundreds were stranded in South Africa. They were homeless as they could not afford to pay rentals anymore and their only hope was to go back home.
“They were transported back to Zimbabwe for free. Several buses were hired to ferry those people. That was a noble gesture on his part and we are really grateful.”
Mabhena said he first met Maphosa when the businessman sponsored an event to commemorate the life of Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo at Wits University.
“We were all impressed by the manner in which — from very humble beginnings — he had risen to be where he is now, at the top of the corporate world in South Africa,” said Mabhena from his Johannesburg base.