THE first Middle Sabi black commercial farmer, Mr Eliot Saguta Chichi Makuyana is no more.
The flamboyant businessman-cum farmer died at the age of 87 at West End Hospital in Harare after complications from high blood pressure and diabetes last Wednesday.
He was buried last Saturday at Chipinge Town Council Cemetery
His eldest daughter, Rose (60), spoke about how her father made history in Chipinge by having a shop at almost every township in the Lowveld.
Besides being a businessman, he was a successful farmer. He also had interests in real estate.
His brother, Mr Washington Makuyana was a prosperous businessman in his own right as Kwaadini Bakery became a household name in the bakery business.
As brothers, they were synonymous with business success.
â€œMy father was a huge inspiration to me. As we grew up, everyone referred to him as Saguta. In every township from Mutema right up to Chisumbanje, he had a shop and mostly, the shops were big.
â€œIn 1980, soon after Zimbabwe obtained her independence, he bought a farm in Middle Sabi. His presence there was almost like an oasis in the desert as his neighbours were all white, but he soldiered on,â€ said Rose Makuyana and added:
â€œHe was one of the first African businessmen in Rhodesia to learn Business and Bookkeeping as part of his business training and the knowledge he got propelled him to greater heights.â€
As a real estate mogul, the deceased had the most shops at Checheche Growth Point which he later sold.
In Chipinge town, he built the building that now houses Agribank.
Sikumbuzo Thondlana, a farmer in Middle Sabi, praised the late farmer.
â€œHe was a great man who did not hesitate to plunge his life into the unknown. To many of us who came here as direct beneficiaries of the land reform programme, we saw him as an elder brother in the quest to return the land to its indigenous people. He will be sadly missed,â€ she said.
As a farmer, he did not wait for other farmers to supply him with equipment, but took the bold decision to buy his very own combine harvester as a show of how farming can be run as a business.
He is survived by six children.