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
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...