By- President Emmerson Mnangagwa has sent a condolence message to the late businessman Ben Mucheche.
Mucheche died on Wednesday after a long illness at his Beatrice Farm. He was 96.
He left behind six wives and 28 children.
In a condolence message to the Mucheche family, Mnangagwa said Mucheche was a self-made indigenous businessman who rose to fame against a racially structured system. He said:
The late Cde Ben Mucheche is synonymous with an inspiring generation of self-made indigenous businessmen and women who rose to fame against all odds in colonial Rhodesia.
From very humble beginnings, the late Cde Mucheche beat all bottlenecks placed in the way of enterprising blacks, to break into the racially structured transport and farming business.
Beginning with a single vehicle, Cde Mucheche persevered until he built a large fleet of taxis before venturing into the large passenger transport business for which he became known right through to our Independence.
A civic leader and a tried and tested nationalist, the late Cde Mucheche used his position and his hard-earned resources to support the nationalist movement right from its early, formative days in the late 1950s.
As we mourn Cde Mucheche’s painful demise, we remember especially the salutary role he played in sowing seeds for black economic empowerment by co-founding the Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC) alongside leading businessmen and women like the late Paul Mukondo, John Mapondera, Strive Masiyiwa, late Roger Boka, Enock Kamushinda and Mrs Jane Mutasa.
Mucheche was born on 31 March 1927 at Chishawasha Mission in Goromonzi. He later moved to Salisbury (now Harare) in search of employment and worked as a schoolteacher.
In 1956, he started Easy Way Taxis, a taxi business, with only £300 in savings. By 1962, he had a fleet of six taxis, which he sold to buy two buses.
In 1979, when the Liberation War ended, Mucheche was running a fleet of 75 buses.
In 1973, he was elected the president of the Rhodesian African Chamber of Commerce which represented the interests of black people.
In 1975, he was appointed the director of the Reserve Bank, a position he held up to 1988.
He was also elected as the leader of the Zimbabwe Rural Transport Organisation between 1976 and 2002.