Godwin Muzari Lifestyle Editor

Appearance can be deceiving. If anyone who does not know Tinashe Mutarisi meets the man on the street, donning simple outfits as he usually does on casual adventures, they would be forgiven for mistaking him for an ordinary hustler.

Even his countenance, when he is not doing office work, does not portray a boss of established, flourishing and fast-rising companies.

He is simple and seems to enjoy the down-to-earth lifestyle. He prefers not to appear like someone who owns a mansion in Borrowdale and a fleet of posh cars, including a Tesla electric ride.

Alick Macheso and writer Takemore Mazuruse share a lighter moment with Tinashe Mutarisi (centre) outside his Borrowdale mansion

His cars might turn heads, but away from the wheels he keeps a low profile. The reserved lifestyle keeps him away from unnecessary attention when he is going about his social business. His approach puts him in a class of introverted business people in the country who shun personal publicity.

If the responsibility of directing Nash Paints had fallen on someone else’s shoulders — the flamboyant type — the town would be glittering with painted footsteps.

If owning NashTV had been an achievement of a flashy character, the screen and social media pages would be beaming with recurrent show-off images.

Tinashe Mutarisi talking to one of his drivers on duty

If the duty of running Avion telecommunications company had been bestowed upon a different person, images of endless international business trips would have infested the social media.

If a showy character sat on prestigious corporate boards as Mutarisi does, the world would have been bombarded with exaggerated gospel of personal accomplishments. Yet, despite these and many other achievements the astute businessman has amassed, Mutarisi remains humble.

Despite having many prestigious awards of excellence to his name, Mutarisi does not prefix his name with the ‘award-winning’ title as some would do after getting a single questionable accolade from a dubious institute. Either because of deliberate strategy or his evidently shy character, the businessman, who recently added Nash Furnitures to his growing company portfolio, enjoys life in his shell.

Given an opportunity to boast about his cars in an interview with The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle on Thursday, Mutarisi chose a calculated response and refused to disclose the models he owns.

“I want people to know that there is absolutely nothing special about me,” he began his narration.

“My love for cars is not inspired by a desire for show off but just the idea of experiencing life in a different way. I love experimenting, being a someone who grew in lack and there are instances when I feel like enjoying the finer things in life just for the sake of it. My hope is that in doing so I inspire others to dream. My garage has various car makes but I believe they all bring their specific travel convenience.”

The businessman then shared his life story, explaining what he means when he says he grew up in lack.

“I was born in Wedza and grew up under difficult circumstances having lost my parents at a young age. I had to forego the childhood privileges and quickly graduated into adulthood, looking after my siblings. My siblings would also support me, sometimes moulding bricks just for me to complete my secondary education.”

What worsened matters was the polygamous background of his family. His father had three wives and 27 children. When his parents died, the family set up did not make it easy to negotiate the sharp curves of the unpredictable life voyage.

He had to find work after his secondary education to take care of his siblings.

“After school, I worked at a retail shop in Chivhu before migrating to Botswana where I discovered the opportunities that existed in the local paint industry.

“Armed with my few savings, I came back to Zimbabwe and started the paint business at Chikwanha in Chitungwiza under very humble beginnings but that was to be the foundation of a now recognised regional paint business empire with interests in Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia and with prospects of moving to more countries like Malawi among others.”

The tough background seems to have permanent scars on Mutarisi’s heart. Many times he has broken down on podiums when he makes speeches about his life. Emotions overwhelm him when he revisits childhood memories.

When he talks about his journey, he always says he is still learning and hopes to develop himself and his businesses further.

“It was not easy finding my feet especially coming from a disadvantaged background and as an orphan. I am one person who always had this intrinsic desire to achieve and self actualise but the truth is that it was no easy walk to the top.

“Yes, I have built a multi-award winning business empire with interests in paint, furniture, mobile technology and transport and logistics, to name a few, but I believe I am just getting started. I pray for wisdom, strong resolve and the ability to continue developing myself and my business interests.”

The social side that many people probably know about Mutarisi revolves around the arts. He has worked with various musicians and done projects with Alick Macheso and Jah Prayzah. He has been involved in a number of big shows involving Jah Prayzah although he chose to remain behind the scenes.

“Jah Prayzah has become part of our family and we have worked with him on various projects including promotional jingles, adverts and brand activation projects.

“We are proud of the association and the many positives born out of our professional relationship with him. As a brand we continue to explore opportunities and new markets and will be engaging various celebrities across the sectors as informed by market trends.

“Alick Macheso was our founding brand ambassador and he helped propel our brand forward. Many associate the Nash Paints brand with Macheso and we remain appreciative of the strides we made together and continue engaging as and when the need arises. That brand awareness that came through the Macheso deal is an ideal we cherish so much.”

Mutarisi has become close to the musicians and they share social time. He has visited Macheso and Jah Prayzah at their houses, while the musicians have also spent time with him and his family.

He is a man who enjoys spending good time with his wife and six children.

“The idea of family time is a big deal to me and I enjoy spending quality time with my family away from the busy schedule and work demands. A trip around Zimbabwe or outside the country and some quality time with family, a shared and nicely prepared home cooked meal or the occasional games here and there carry the day for me.

“I also enjoy time out with friends and peers as well as mentors, people that I look up to for inspiration and motivation. Like they say, your network is your net worth.”

Because of his love for the arts, Mutarisi ensured that one of his business entities is tilted to the creative industry and that led to the birth of NashTV.

“NashTV is an online television platform designed to plug existing gaps and platform limitations even more during this Covid-19 pandemic era where the whole world is reeling from the effects of set lockdown and social distancing measures.

“Zimbabwe is awash with talent which we seldom celebrate and NashTV is thus an open and available platform for all musicians and industry players who desire an opportunity to interface with the Zimbabwean public while showcasing their various art forms for growth and enhanced talent appreciation.

“We have worked with some of the big and upcoming artists in Zimbabwe. The list is endless and it continues to grow by the day. Names that come to mind include Alick Macheso, Jah Prayzah, Baba Manyeruke, Minister Michael Mahendere, Noel Zembe, Mambo Dhuterere, T-Gonzi, Enzo Ishall, Peter Moyo, Sulumani Chimbetu, Mathias Mhere, Bethen Pasinawako, Mai Patai, Ammara Brown and Tammy Moyo to name a few.”

The entrepreneur gave a brief insight into his business empire besides the artistic focus of his online television platform.

“Nash Paints is a brand for the people. Our products and services are tailor made for the customer regardless of their social standing and buying power yet retaining that cherished quality and experience.

“We have championed various campaigns and promotions all aimed at bringing value and convenience to our customers. We find joy in bringing total satisfaction to all who believe in our brand and though we continue exploring ways to better ourselves and remain of service, we are encouraged by our strides to date.

“Nash Furnishers is a brand that complements the goodness of the Nash Paints brand.

“We are all about bringing the ‘home into the house’. Once you paint your house nicely with our quality paints, you can certainly do with our quality yet affordable furniture and vice versa.

“Avion is about moving with time. The world has gone digital and we are happy to be bridging the digital divide through availing quality yet affordable mobile technology gadgets like mobile phones and laptops among others for both kids and adults.”

On a parting note, Mutarisi had a message of inspiration for young businessmen.

“My message to fellow Zimbabweans in business and the arts is that we must keep it real. Yes, things may be difficult for everyone at the moment but there is always a time for the big boom. Let’s remain sincere and committed to our pursuits. It’s also important to be willing to learn. None has a monopoly of wisdom and the sooner we learn that the better. Let us collaborate and work for common good.”