The Sunday News
Sunday Life Reporter
TO most people in the know, the little enclave of Mashumba is associated with violent crime and many choose to steer clear of it.
Local businesses that include butcheries and grocery shops have suffered as a consequence of this notoriety with many changing hands several times in recent history. Many parents have tended to avoid sending children to shops in Mashumba fearing for their kids’ safety.
Mashumba is nestled on the border of Mzilikazi and Makokoba, both Bulawayo townships with a disturbing history of violence and crime. The enclave itself has also carved a name for itself as a place riddled with violence that, over the years, has included incidents of dead bodies discovered within its environs. Most of the dead patrons of bars within Mashumba. Many will remember the days of Jika Jika Sports Bar and weekend after weekend of violence either within the bar or just outside its premises.
By day, Mashumba is a hive of activity as scores of furniture manufacturers and their touts alike go about their business. By night the local night spots take over with most of their patrons operating within these woodworkers and the rest coming from Mzilikazi, Makokoba and Nguboyenja. And under the cover of darkness, crimes such as muggings, rape and macabre murders have often been the news of the day.
In yesteryear, the only drinking hole was the council-owned Mashumba Beerhall and even then crime was a bother for patrons. With the establishment and opening of Jika Jika Sports Bars, the beerhall soon began to lose business as did several other such establishments in Bulawayo’s high -ensity suburbs. And this new form of entertainment came with increased incidences of violent crime.
But to Tatenda Zhakata, a retired police officer, Mashumba represented a viable albeit risky business opportunity, one he chose to take on despite the negative perceptions that come with it. With this history in mind but determined to conquer and make it work, the ex-cop invested in a Sports Bar which will sound crazy to many would-be entrepreneurs.
After taking over the once infamous Jika Jika and renaming his new business The Brothers Sports Bar, Zhakata has been quietly going about his business and working towards to changing mindsets about bars in Mashumba.
“When I first got into business in 2017, people used to drink only in the afternoons because of serious robberies, thieving and violent thugs who used to frequented drinking spots back then. There was no serious business activity when I when started and the whole of Mashumba was quiet. however, the opening of my place was a welcomed by the majority of local residents who have continued to support me until now.”
The retired policeman has managed to develop a good working relationship with locals and patrons which has seen key to its continued growth despite being situated in the supposed violent environs.
“Being a former cop I have good relations with the police, whom I have engaged and are always patrolling the area. I also have first-hand experience in dealing with criminals so I am always at the forefront in protecting my customers and making sure all perpetrators of violence are brought book. I commend Mzilikazi Police Station and Barbourfields Police Station officers who consistently patrol our area,” Zhakata said.
The businessman said his entertainment spot is now a hive of activity and his establishment believes in its operating ethos which is safety first and he believes this gives his businessman a competitive edge. The rebranded bar was opened in April 2017 and now employs eight workers.