In our first series of the Motimagz: ‘African Great Series’ Nyasha Kaonde (NK), an entrepreneur, author, and personal development coach joins one of the leading entrepreneurs, authors, and philanthropists, Barnabas Marambire (BM) whose story is one of the rags to riches one. This was an on-call interview which was later transcribed into text for publication in this edition and the audio interview can be listened to and downloaded on our YouTube Channel http://youtu.be/4reebZDFGWw
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NK: Joining us today is a business tycoon, CEO of Barmlo Investments, Motivational Speaker, Author of the recently published and best-selling book, ‘The Herdboy’. Wel-come Mr. Marambire.
BM: Thank you Nyasha for having me.
NK: It’s a pleasure to have you, Sir. Can you please tell us who is Barnabas Marambi-re?
BM: Barnabas Marambire is a young man, I do not know if I should say a young man or maybe a middle-aged man, who is so passionate about business. I am a family man married with three boys and I am someone with is into entrepreneurship and I love giving back to my community, particularly the underprivileged where I participate a lot in paying tuition and school fees for the underprivileged
NK: Wow, quite a loaded profile there. Now let us talk about your book, ‘The Herdboy’ What inspired you to write the book.
BM: What inspired me to write the book is my life, I always tell people that my life is a living testimony. I am some who was in a very difficult poor situation, growing as an orphan, without parents, without anyone to take care of me. I could further my studies because I only went as far as form four, life was not easy. So each time I look back where I came from and where I am now as a businessman, running five businesses be-cause Barmlow Investments is a group company, employing over 500 employees around Zimbabwe.
I have participated in various platforms, I looked at it and said, but people do not know what is beyond all this success, so I decided to write a story, but my story in a book. It’s a true story that is full of events that had happened, in my life. When I have people reading the book, they are going to be motivated, especially those that are also struggling with their lives, are going to look at me and say if this guy a herd boy is now a CEO, so what can stop me. So that was my most… and writ-ing of the book.
NK: Wow, let us talk about you being an or- early age, can you tell us more about your journey as a herd boy. How was it like?
BM: Actually the most fascinating about be-ing a herd boy, you know that one of the most degrading just and when people have employees like the herdboy in their homes, you are always treated like nothing. When it is raining outside there, you are the one they send to get anything when all the don-key works need to be done, you are the one they give all those tasks to yet your wage is very little, I was earning as close to $15, that is how I started saving until I raised enough capital to register a company even though along the way I got involved in construction working as an assistant in brick and mortar.
Do you know growing up as an orphan was very difficult, there are days I could go to bed without anything? I could go to school without proper uniform like other kids, without proper shoes, imagine in days like winter, just to wrap up the journey was not easy.
NK: Painful story it easy, are they any challenges you faced along the way, especially in establishing your business because I know that it is not easy just to say you want to start a business especially with how your business is expanding beyond borders. Can you tell us the challenges you faced along the way?
BM: There are so many challenges, but because of time I will just select a few. The obvious challenge was starting capital, you know from my background, obviously how I grew up was not anything fancy, so there is nowhere I could borrow money from anyone and so obviously starting without money or very little capital was very difficult and a had to hire vehicles from other people and those I hired from ended up taking the big-ger portion of my profit because I didn’t have a choice, I could not choose. Secondly, recognition, you go and approach people with an idea, they look at you and you are a nobody and no one will listen to you.
There is a challenge of employing and recruiting people, you need people to work with in order to succeed as a company but you do not have money or capital and people will not take you seriously. So the challenges were so many and I had to navigate and find my way through and one thing that helped me to go was self-conviction. I had told myself that one day I am going to be someone, and even when I was a herd boy, herding cattle on the farm.
We would sit down just chatting as boys, when people would talk of soccer, who’s the richest man in town, each time they gave me an opportunity to speak I would talk of how I would tell them that one day I am going to start my company, hire so many people, buy so many cars and you are going to see me on Tv and I remember one guy teased me saying that, if you are going to be on TV, you would be on wanted criminal because there is no way you can be successful considering your lifestyle as a herd boy.
NK: Wow, that’s powerful and we are really inspired by you. Let’s drawback, we would like to know what was the turning point that transformed the herd boy into an entrepreneur, what was the turning point?
BM: The turning point was when I got a job to work in more like a town, to a place which was more like a town and was hired in the construction industry and I worked very well with those who hired me and later they decided to part because they were two partners because the other partner was transferred to another town and they wanted to close the company. I offered to buy the company and continue doing the work, instead, they rented me the place, that is where I started and one step at a time until I was able to hire other people but I was actually doing the donkey work, like the practical work in the construction industry.
NK: Wow, indeed a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Mr. Marambi-re can you share the secrets you have used to be where you are today, which people going through the same phase you went through especially those who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs.
BM: Actually what I can say or share with them is that if you want something, it is your responsibility, it is your call to make it happen. I see a lot in these upcoming entrepreneurs or startups with the mentality of the thinking that it is the government’s duty to do something for them or a certain established person who is to help, I would say it doesn’t work like that in the corporate world.
You need be your own master, you need to work hard, sweat, do everything by yourself, if it will ever happen that you will get assistance, don’t wait for it, idling hop-ing that one day a miracle will happen otherwise you will stay for the rest of your life waiting for that miracle.
NK: Wow, powerful there. Indeed we do not have to wait for opportunities and indeed we have to be masters of our own lives because the government will not create opportunities for us because they do not know what our dream is. Mr. Marambire can you please tell us, if someone was to read a chapter of your book, which one would you prefer to and why?
BM: The chapters of the book are so intact, all of them are so important because if you start from Chapter 1 it talks about how I lost my parents, what I went through as a young boy, and then chapter 3. Would you allow me to pick two chapters, I would recommend chapter 3 and 6.
NK: Why would you want someone to read Chapters 3 and 6?
BM: In Chapter 3, that is where it talks about the more of the hustling, a little bit of turn around of the herd boy in the construction industry, and the importance of transformation into a better life. In chapter 6, it talks about human jealousy, the struggle of my company in Botswana, and coming back into Zimbabwe to start a new chapter.
NK: Wow, Thank you so much, can you please tell us any people who have helped you to e where you are, because I believe every successful person has a mentor.
BM: God has actually given me good people I met in life, I have met other people who just helped me with ideas and advice, and out of those people I would just to thank my wife who believed me when I was just starting in the construction industry. She walked with me up to where I am right now, she is actually a pillar of strength in my life. So when it comes to mentorship, the person I have followed on Facebook and learned a lot from is Dr. Strive Masiyiwa. I really follow his teachings and business ethics which I apply in my business and I have seen my business grow. I was really happy to meet him finally in Ghana last year, he is a person I take as a mentor.
NK: If someone once to buy your book, ‘The Herd Boy” where can they get it from?
BM: Currently we have uploaded it on Amazon, in Harare, you can get in touch with ‘Nigel The Slick Pastor’ and in Botswana, there is Mr. Themba. For those who want to listen to the audio version you can go on Sa-sai Podcast and listen to it, ‘The Herd Boy’.
NK: Thank you so much Mr. Marambire, that is it from The Herdboy who has transformed his life into a business tycoon who is successfully running a business here in Zimbabwe and across the borders. It was a pleasure having you Sir on The Motimagz African Greats Series. We have really learned a lot from you Sir, indeed your story and journey are really inspiring. I am sure that many who are out there are going to use the secrets you have shared with today to transform their lives, thank you.
BM: Thank you very much, we give glory to God for such a motivational life you have given me.
NK: Thank you, Sir
BM: You are welcome