The life­styles of Zim’s rich and fa­mous kids

While Zim­babwe ush­ers in a new dawn, we look at some of the chil­dren of po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness big­wigs who en­riched them­selves at the coun­try’s ex­pense

DRUM - - Contents - COM­PILED BY JANE VORSTER

UN­EM­PLOY­MENT es­ti­mated at 95%. Hy­per­in­fla­tion that has hit the 79 bil­lion per­cent mark in the past. Some 3 mil­lion peo­ple flee­ing its bor­ders in search of work. Empty su­per­mar­ket shelves, petrol sta­tions that run dry, a worth­less cur­rency, crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture . . .

The litany of dis­as­ter in Zim­babwe goes on and on – yet in the midst of the mis­ery there’s a select group of peo­ple who are do­ing just fine.

Known as “the rich kids of Zim­babwe”, they jet off to the shop­ping cap­i­tals of the world, sip R7 000 bot­tles of cham­pagne and splash out on lux­ury cars and topend watches.

To add in­sult to in­jury, they brag about it all on so­cial me­dia – post­ing pic­tures of a sil­ver-plated Rolls-Royce, an ex­cur­sion in a pri­vate jet with an in­te­rior decked out in gold and a shot of a pair of gold-em­bel­lished train­ers.

Mostly the chil­dren of Zim’s po­lit­i­cal elite, they clearly want the world to know money is no ob­ject.

And there’s no doubt that among the flashiest of the su­per-spenders are Robert Mu­gabe’s sons, Robert Ju­nior (24) and Chatunga Bel­larmine (20).

They seem to have learnt a thing or two from their mother, Grace (52), who dur­ing her decades as first lady was no­to­ri­ous for her over-the-top spend­ing – in one spree alone in Paris in 2002 Gucci Grace blew $75 000 (then R825 000) on lux­ury goods.

Ev­ery­day life may be a strug­gle for their fel­low cit­i­zens but the Mu­gabe boys live the high life – and make no apol­ogy for it. When they moved to South Africa ear­lier this year their par­ents bought them a R43-mil­lion prop­erty in Joburg.

But al­though they’re sup­pos­edly here to study they seem more in­ter­ested in dream­ing up cre­ative ways to spend their par­ents’ money.

In a video shared on so­cial me­dia Chatunga and his friends can be seen drink­ing what looked like Ace of Spades cham­pagne, which costs about R7 000 a pop. In the clip the despot’s son en­cour­ages fol­low­ers to “live your life and have fun”. Seems it’s a motto he lives by.

Chatunga re­cently sparked an out­cry when he posted a video on so­cial me­dia show­ing him pour­ing cham­pagne over his di­a­mond-en­crusted Rolex watch, which he claimed was worth R850 000.

He bragged that he owned the time­piece be­cause “daddy runs the whole coun­try” – a coun­try he’s now re­port­edly too scared to put a foot in.

His brother isn’t any bet­ter when it comes to out­ra­geous spend­ing. While study­ing Amer­i­can ar­chi­tec­ture in Dubai, Robert Jr made sure all eyes were on him by rock­ing up for classes in an ex­pen­sive sports car that re­sem­bled Bat­man’s Bat­mo­bile.

He also made his more than 20 000 In­sta­gram fol­low­ers green with envy when he shared a pic­ture of him­self in a gold-be­decked pri­vate jet.

And he just couldn’t un­der­stand what all the fuss was about when his lav­ish life­style drew out­rage.

“They keep on talk­ing, we keep on rolling,” he wrote.

THE Mu­gabe brothers aren’t the only young Zim­bab­weans who seem out of touch with re­al­ity. In fact, the coun­try boasts its own an­swer to the Kar­dashi­ans. On their In­sta­gram pages Van­nessa

Chi­ronga (29) and her sis­ter, Michelle Chiyangwa (27), pout and pose their hearts out as they give their fol­low­ers a sneak peek into the priv­i­leged lives af­forded them by their fa­ther, Philip Chiyangwa, who is a bil­lion­aire prop­erty mogul, politi­cian, and Mu­gabe’s nephew.

In a re­cent in­ter­view Van­nessa com­plained that it’s dif­fi­cult for her to drive her Vic­to­ria Beck­ham 2013 spe­cial edi­tion Range Rover on Zim’s roads be­cause they’re pep­pered with pot­holes.

When she mar­ried busi­ness­man Tanaka Chi­ronga re­cently she de­scribed their $65 000 (R897 000) nup­tials in the Sey­chelles as a “low-cost” op­tion. If they had wed in Zim, she rea­soned, they would’ve had to in­vite 9 000 peo­ple which would’ve made it an ex­pen­sive af­fair.

Wick­nell Chivayo (37) has also been mak­ing waves with his taste­less posts. The young busi­ness­man, thought to be one of the rich­est peo­ple in Zim thanks to his con­nec­tions with the Mu­gabes, loves flaunt­ing his wealth. He re­cently posted a pic­ture show­ing one of his lux­ury cars parked on a dirt road in a poorer part of the Zim cap­i­tal, Harare – the irony ap­par­ently com­pletely lost on him. But Wick­nell in­sists he has a good rea­son for splash­ing ma­jor cash on his cus­tom-built wheels. He says their ad­justable seats make it eas­ier to ac­com­mo­date his am­ple frame.

YET this is mild com­pared to the spend­ing habits of Sid­ney Him­bara Jr. He’s the son of Sid­ney Sr, whose con­nec­tions with Robert Mu­gabe paved the way for lots of lu­cra­tive con­struc­tion con­tracts. Sid­ney Jr – or Sir Sid as he likes to be called – seems to be on a mis­sion to spend his fa­ther’s mil­lions. His In­sta­gram feed fea­tures bot­tles of Dom Pérignon cham­pagne, stacks of dol­lar bills, Rolex watches, fast cars and shots of his ever-grow­ing shoe col­lec­tion – one pair made of al­li­ga­tor skin and fea­tur­ing plated gold re­port­edly set him back more than R55 000.

And what do you buy to amuse your­self when money is no ob­ject?

For Sid the an­swer was ob­vi­ous: a golden re­volver that fires out lip­stick pel­lets. He re­cently shared a snap of the flashy gun with his In­sta­gram fol­low­ers.

But now with Mu­gabe gone Sid and com­pany’s days on the gravy train may be num­bered. On Mu­gabe’s younger son’s Face­book page, fol­low­ers took great de­light in gloat­ing about the dictator’s hu­mil­i­at­ing exit.

“Dad fell off the cash cow called ZanuPF,” one wrote. “No more cham­pagne baths.”

1 Zim busi­ness­man Wick­nell Chivayo is known for hav­ing wads of cash on hand. 2 It’s Robert Mu­gabe Jr who takes the cake – he posted a video of him­self on a gold-becked jet. 3 And showed up to univer­sity in a sports car re­sem­bling the Bat­mo­bile. 4...

9 & 10 Sis­ters Van­nessa Chi­ronga and Michelle Chiyangwa’s lives are all bling and glam. 11 Van­nessa’s wed­ding cost over R897 000. 12 The ladies were also seen driv­ing a sil­ver Rolls-Royce. 13 Sid­ney re­cently splurged on a golden re­volver that fires...

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