FOR Wicknell Chivayo, money seems to grow on trees.
Never the one to be shy to ostentatiously display his wealth, Chivayo, who likes to call himself Sir Wicknell, has of late been on an unrelenting spending spree, splurging on the latest high-value luxury cars.
But it is his latest crusade of spending a fortune on “strangers” that broke the internet.
Over the years, we have witnessed flamboyant businessmen with a penchant for flaunting their wealth — talk of Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure (may his soul rest in peace), Philip “Boss Phidza” Chiyangwa and Passion Java — but Sir Wicknell has seemingly taken the game to a whole new level.
He upped the stakes a few days ago when he bought Jah Prayzah a brand-new S500 Mercedes-Benz that was said to be worth US$180 000.
Barely a week later, as the public was still digesting the unusual gesture, he struck again — this time, buying Suluman Chimbetu a brand-new 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 300 with an estimated market value of US$140 000.
Just when many people were trying to process what was happening, on Friday, the businessman splashed another US$155 000 on a Mercedes-Benz GLE400d for musician Sandra Ndebele.
Initially, the court of public opinion dismissed these gestures as publicity stunts.
However, it appears the man is not moved.
But it is the sheer amount of money that Wicknell has been whimsically spending to bless his cherry-picked beneficiaries that is simply jaw-dropping.
Sometime last year, he gifted musician Chief Hwenje (born Admire Sibanda) US$50 000 for the purchase of a house.
He had previously gifted the same musician a brand-new Toyota Hilux GD6 vehicle.
Director of ceremonies and Ndarama High School teacher David Masomere, or DJ Masomere, also received a brand-new vehicle reportedly worth US$65 000, as well as a house valued at US$60 000.
Chivayo surprised many when he took to social media to announce his gift to DJ Masomere.
“Congratulations to you, my brother. Brand spanking and stinking new Toyota Hilux D4D double cab 2,4 diesel worth US$65 000 . . . ,” reads part of Chivayo’s post.
On January 7, he took to Instagram to announce that he had “spoiled” his Johanne Masowe Apostolic sect fellow church members with 50 Toyota Aqua vehicles.
He wrote: “Abraham mugovi wezvipo zvevatendi . . . Akaita 50 ma Aqua @ US$7 500. It means I have blessed 50 church members. Ndoziva kuti ndatanga gore zvakanaka.”
Last year, Sabhuku Vharazipi, along with his ZIYA Cultural Arts Trust co-stars Chairman and Mbuya Mai John, got a whopping US$10 000 each.
The list of Sir Wicknell’s benevolence is simply long and unending.
It includes the brand-new Toyota Hilux single cab worth US$100 000 that he donated to the Sacred Heart Association of the Roman Catholic Church in Harare.
The donation also included a home solar system and US$100 000 in cash.
Again, writing on social media, he said the gift was his special way of thanking the association for supporting his family during the death of his mother.
Chivayo also bought his church leader Lawrence Katsiru and his wife a 2023 Toyota Hilux and a Fortuner V8.
The 41-year-old also owns an impressive collection of expensive cars.
In 2023, he reportedly spent US$1,9 million on cars alone in a week.
In just one month, he bought four brand-new Rolls Royce vehicles, a Mercedes-Benz Maybach and a Range Rover.
The duty for the vehicles was estimated at around US$1,5 million.
He reportedly owns a Range Rover worth US$450 000, a Rolls Royce Cullinan worth US$850 000 and a Mercedes-Benz Maybach GLS600 worth US$400 000, among other expensive toys.
At one time, it was rumoured he had bought a private jet.
Overall, The Sunday Mail Society believes he could have shelled out close to US$5 million during his recent spending spree.
At one time, it was rumoured he had bought a private jet.
Chivayo’s antics have naturally attracted the odd lot of chancers who are trying their luck to bait him into blessing them with an expensive gift.
Recently, former Star FM presenter DJ Ollah 7 openly canvassed for a top-of-the-range automobile from Sir Wicknell through a social media post.
He was, however, forced to eat humble pie after he was lampooned by netizens (internet users) for embarrassingly “lacking self-respect”.
“Zvakaoma, do you know how many cars I have? Do you know my relationship with Wicknell?
“I do not know him zvepa social media. This was meant to be a joke and you missed the humour in it,” responded DJ Ollah 7.
But the public should have at least understood the ambitious DJ, whose old jalopy was recently involved in a freak accident in the capital.
Gifted but forgotten rapper Maskiri — real name Alishias Musimbe — finds himself in the mix.
He has tried to grab Sir Wicknell’s attention by publicly offering him a rare he-goat breed and a breeding manual.
For one having a bad day, scrolling through some of the social media comments may prove to be just what the doctor ordered.
Some of the soliciting posts will certainly leave one in stitches.
Kelvin Manyau wrote: “Madzibaba, Sir Wicknell, munobatira murinechepapi? Dakuuya nenhombo nhatu ndoimba
Hossanna mukuru toita munamato, toimba tsitsi dzaMwari baba dzinoda tipone. But handina chekudzokesa manje asi licence ndinayo.”
Could Chivayo be one of the richest men in the country
“I know it is almost my turn to get a car but, please, Sir, can I have uri musvo (cash); GD6 inozondiremera maintenance,” commented Melody Kurehwa.
Costa Gee was not to be outdone.
He posted: “Ndeipi mudhara, gara zviya sowe ramopindira ndofamba sei? Ndagara ndosiuya asi ndandisipo chete, Sir Wicknell.”
But could Chivayo be one of the richest men in the country?
Basing on his posts, the man has been on a “gifting” crusade, which has seen him splash close to US$5 million on “strangers” since January 2023 to date.
Sir Wicknell has seemingly perfected the art of giving while maintaining his private family life a mystery.
Always present on social media, Chivayo, through online posts in which he will be either showing off wads of cash or jewellery, or making donations/payments, captivates the nation.
The posts are regular sources of debate and controversy.
The donations, which are handed over in public, are seemingly increasing in regularity.
It, however, appeared Chivayo was in the most aggressive streak of charitable giving last week, dishing out expensive cars to musicians Jah Prayzah, Sulu and Ba Troy and Sandra Ndebele.
Naturally, his actions have attracted interest from people who want to know more about his background and family.
“I do not have a problem with what he is doing. However, I hope all his relatives are being well taken care of, otherwise this will be all in vain. Come to think of it, does he have siblings?” queried Mai Panashe.
But, ironically, beyond what he wants the public to see, Chivayo’s private life seems to be a closely guarded secret.
He has often refused to take questions from journalists during press conferences.
This further fuels speculation about his life and businesses. But whether you like him or not, he is an interesting character who has perfected the art of grabbing attention.
Chivayo’s known company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, is best known for the yet-to-be completed Gwanda Solar Project.
No other business ventures belonging to the businessman are in the public domain.
The late Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure, who also had a penchant for acquiring expensive cars, was known to be the owner of a thriving gas company and the trendy Dreams Night Club.
Ginimbi was known for pampering himself with the finest things in life, but he did not buy cars for “strangers”, unless he did so in private.
However, the late socialite periodically spoiled his friends and fans with expensive whisky and champagne.
It is also the same case with Chiyangwa, who also leads a flamboyant lifestyle and has known companies.
Chivayo’s known company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, is best known for the yet-to-be completed Gwanda Solar Project
However, the Intratrek Zimbabwe website describes Chivayo as “an accomplished businessman who has over 10 years’ experience spanning from transport and logistics, farming, petroleum and energy industries”.
The same website said the company, which was founded in 1994, is “a leading player in Zimbabwe’s energy sector with capacity and partnerships to carry out national or regional energy projects across the whole sector from thermal, hydro to solar”.
Interestingly, the company has, according to the website, interests in the aerospace sector.
But Chivayo has been known to rub shoulders with the rich, powerful and famous.
Four years ago, he posted a picture standing next to the then-Zambian president, Edgar Lungu, and wrote in part: “As the regional coordinator for a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, I will tirelessly pursue my passion to generate more renewable energy for Africa. In this beautiful country next door, we have implemented and successfully completed 26 fully funded turnkey EPC projects . . . I’m a businessman of international repute and always remember, I’m not really an unusually intelligent person with extraordinary gifts. I’m just a regular person who made a daily list of critical tasks that needed to get done and did them . . .”
For now, the Chivayo show still continues.