Disc jockey-cum-businessman, Tichafa Augustine Matambanadzo, popularly known as Tich Mataz, has opened up on his time in South Africa and regrets some of the decisions that he made during his time in the neighbouring country.
In a recent interview on Boyz Dze Tonaz TV’s YouTube channel, the 53-year-old television personality said at one point he had 25 sleek, top of the range vehicles and nine properties in South Africa. He said:
When I first left Zimbabwe, I was getting paid maybe $2000 and when I went to South Africa my first pay was R15 000.
Remember I was a businessman as well. I had a communications company, Khulumani Communications, which handled a lot of corporate communications there, I had an investment company, I had a nightclub, I was doing some big deals at the government level, I was buying some fancy cars. At one time, and it was stupid of me, I had like 25 brand new cars.
Matambanadzo revealed that when he was working for Radio 3, he was offered a job at Radio Bophuthatswana (BOP) in South Africa which he accepted and rose to become one of the hottest DJs in the neighbouring country.
He was, however, deported on 24 March in 1998 after South Africa Home Affairs officials discovered that he had fraudulently acquired a South African identity document and had no valid working permit.
According to South Africa’s Home Affairs Ministry spokesman at the time, Manase Makwela, Matambanadzo had apparently been issued with a work permit on March 31, 1994, which was valid only until March 31, 1995, to work at BOP Broadcasting in Bophuthatswana.
Matambanadzo acknowledged that he made wrong choices and perhaps he should have done things differently at the time. He said:
When you grow up you understand perspective. You begin to see things from an eagle’s viewpoint.
If some guy from Malawi comes into this country and takes over the marketplace, becomes the hottest guy on TV, the very nature of the Zimbabwean or any other human being would be to ask ‘who exactly is this guy? Isn’t there someone else who can do what he does?
I ruffled a lot of feathers and even though I had favour in some of the highest offices the one thing I should have known is that when a king leaves his country for another, he does not remain king even there.
When I got there, I was blinded by all the excitement, money was flowing. I was not able to read what was happening within my surroundings.
So, while I was excited, I was happy and I was doing well, others were not. I could have done things very differently. I could have and I should have.
With his deportation, Mataz’s South African business empire fell to ruins. Over two decades later, he believes he should have invested at home more just in case of a rainy day which, in the end, did arrive.
It was silly and I see it now that I’m older…when you’re young you think the money will never be finished. I had his and hers safe.
My wife had her own safe and I had a jeweller designer… I had three personal houses and for investment, I had another five or six.
So, I had nine or ten houses in total. At the time you’re thinking I’m never going back to Zimbabwe but I should have bought houses here. I did buy for my mother and father for example but I should have done my investment in Zimbabwe.
… I could have interacted very differently with some of the people that I felt were family and friends.
My son is South African, he was born there and at the time there were a lot more reasons why I should have continued in South Africa than being booted out.
It was also a very important life lesson that has reformed and reconstituted the way that I interact and do business. All I can say is watch this space.