The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
WHEN Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure uploaded a video of his favourite toy, a Ferrari 488 Spider valued at US$350 000, promising to give Bulawayo a good time on Instagram, party lovers in the City of Kings knew that they were in for a good time.
Despite all the anticipation, few could have envisaged the kind of excitement Ginimbi and his motley band of followers were to bring to the city. After all, this was the same weekend that Sha Sha, a recent BET Award-winner, was supposed to make her homecoming, paying homage to the city that had played a big part in shaping her and the success that she is currently enjoying.
However, as soon as that Ferrari’s wheels licked the tarmac in the City of Kings, everything changed. A sense of anticipation, not at the return of Zimbabwean music’s golden girl, gripped the city. Instead, the excitement was all about Ginimbi, a man that most followers only see on Instagram but for this one weekend would be within touching distance.
When he touched down in Bulawayo on Friday night, Ginimbi did not disappoint. The man of the hour was supposed to make a cameo at some Bulawayo nightspots before they closed but the bouncers and management waited in vain despite the fact that he was staying just a block away at a city hotel. As the hours ticked away, they made peace with the fact that he just was not going to come through, despite the fact that they had already whetted the appetite of their patrons with a promise of his appearance.
Instead of the scheduled visit to those joints, Ginimbi was instead flanked by trusted lieutenants like Boss Tumelo, DJ Rimo Jackson, Patrick Chimpa and Hedley Mobbs, across town at a secluded hotel. At an exclusive event where Bulawayo’s bold and beautiful came out to play, Ginimbi and his boys spared no expensive moment as they treated the taste buds of Bulawayo’s most active social animals to the finest alcohol that money can buy.
Veuve Clicquot Rich champagne, costing as much as US$140 a bottle, flowed as Ginimbi and those trying to keep up with the genius tried to outshine each other. By 2am Ginimbi and crew were ready to call it a night, knowing full well that the Saturday they had welcomed with expensive liquor was bursting with the promise of better things to come.
At the local hotel that the socialite was booked in, his Ferrari was a major attraction, as fans milled around it taking pictures and, for a brief moment at least, shared his awe-inspiring wealth with him. When people picture Ginimbi, they see a single man enjoying his life and getting the adoration of some of the most beautiful women walking Zimbabwean soil. However, what was surprising about the Saturday that he spent in Bulawayo was that the people that seemed to enjoy his company the most were men. They look ready to kiss the ground that he walked on and outside the hotel, his Ferrari became a shrine for the Ginimbi faithful to come and pay homage.
“One thing that the weekend taught us was that Ginimbi has a lot of fans here in Bulawayo and it does not only apply to women only,” said one of the promoters that orchestrated the socialite’s visit to Bulawayo. “When people hear the name Ginimbi they think of women
swarming him but what we learnt when he was here is that men admire him just as much.”
Wherever he went, Ginimbi was the beating heart of every party. At a tshisanyama (braai centre), bartenders scrambled when he and his entourage rolled into the joint as they tried to meet their expensive needs.
The crew had already complained about the shortage of their chosen nectar, Veuve Clicquot Rich champagne, in Bulawayo and this shortage became a drought at the place, an outdoor joint that rarely keeps champagne in stock.
Frantically, one of the hosts at the joint had to call a local liquor supplier to bring as many as 15 bottles of champagne to the joint to satisfy the socialite and his impatient crew. When they brought the champagne, to the supplier’s dismay, one of Ginimbi’s wingman suddenly had a change of heart, saying that the crew did not want to get drunk too quickly as they looked forward to having a good night. While his comrades in big-spending turned down the booze, Ginimbi was the only one to buy a bottle for as he did not want his engine to “idle”.
When he went to another joint in the low-density areas, one of the most hip and happening joints in the city, Ginimbi pulled a crowd that had rarely been seen at the joint, with scores lining up just to breathe the same air as him.
At a sports centre bar just outside the central business district, the event had been billed as Sha Sha’s homecoming, but when Ginimbi got there it was clear who the crowd was there to see. When the man-of-the-hour walked through the joint’s entrance, the crowd nearly broke down the door as they jostled with him, trying to rub shoulders with his expensively-dressed entourage.
The joint’s bouncers had a hard take trying to control a rabid crowd that nearly caused a stampede at the entrance, with each and every patron craving a piece of the socialite. His entrance at the bar was as grand and dramatic as his appearance at the door, with the crowd breaking into a spontaneous chant of “Ginimbi, Ginimbi” as soon as he arrived.
The woman who was supposed to headline the event, Sha Sha, was given in contrast a lukewarm welcome, with hardly any attention given to her. As the champagne flowed, it became clear who had won the night. To the surprise of those that do not know him well, Ginimbi hardly ever went into his own pocket. Instead it is his entourage and a coterie of hangers-on that does all the spending, seemingly eager to please the big man. Bulawayo’s famed “hustlers and dealers, also came out to play, seemingly eager to show Ginimbi that they too could spend big.
According to Mduduzi Mdlongwa of 3D Events, Ginimbi’s mere presence brought a substantive windfall for leisure joints in the city.
“What I can say is that he is good for business. Ask all the owners of places that host people and they will tell you that last Saturday was one of their best days. Just because of the fact that he is in town everyone seems to be eager to spend money. Last weekend was a good weekend for almost everybody,” he said.
All the fun was taking place despite the Covid-19 restrictions of limited numbers and early closure of bars.