Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe Lifestyle Editor
When Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, came into the country at the beginning of this week he brought positive vibes with his assurance that his investment in the country is a question of when, not if.
Tucked somewhere in the news reports of Dangote’s visit was the name Josey Mahachi. This is the woman who pulled the coup and brought Africa’s top billionaire to town. Josey Mahachi is the same woman who was behind the visit of Mandla Mandela, grandson to the late Nelson Mandela to Zimbabwe a few months ago.
The journey to the dizzy heights started a few years back when the daughter of a retired Air Force warrant officer (father) and a housekeeping supervisor at the then Sheraton Hotel completed her basic education at Hatfield Junior and High School.
“After A-Level I attained an executive secretarial qualification. As one of many children in a family with several girls and one boy, resources were limited. So I joined other girls of my generation who were heading to South Africa to look for greener pastures with no clear idea of what we wanted to do. It was a matter of survival and you took any job that came along,” the petite dynamo recalls.
It was there that Josey met fellow foreigner, Nigerian Jide Agbeniyi.
Origins and cultural heritages were blurred and the couple found love. They got married and are now the proud parents of baby boy Zion.
“For me, I can say it has not been hard. I guess that is because my husband is easy going and his family has just accepted me for who I am. I know that there are many things that I do not do right according to their traditions but they are wonderful people,” she explains how the couple that is now resident in Zimbabwe manages to negotiate the field of cultural differences.
Josey Mahachi became a brand through her magazine TV programme “Click Africa” which is aired on MNet’s Africa Magic channel. On that platform she has interviewed key personalities of Africa including presidents, entrepreneurs and religious leaders.
Besides the cream of the Nigerian elite, she has interviewed Bishop Odeyeko of Winners Chapel and TB Joshua and both the Malagasy political rivals of Andry Nirina Rajoelina and Marc Ravolamanana among other African notables.
The step into the limelight came almost accidentally out of Josey’s fierce patriotism, a characteristic she displays with no apology.
“I had always wanted to put Zimbabwe on the map. In 2008 while in South Africa I think I was watching the programme “Good Morning Africa” and I realised that Zimbabwe was missing on the map.
“So I approached the producer and sold him the idea of doing a piece on the Victoria Falls. He was agreeable and I came here to talk to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO Karikoga Kaseke. And we did.
“But I was still not happy with the result. Out of the one hour programme only 15 minutes was dedicated to Victoria Falls.”
Josey then asked herself why she could not come up with her own programme:
“There was so much negative publicity about Zimbabwe and I realised that it was my duty to put the positive things out there instead of waiting for someone else to do the job.”
With Jide already in the graphics industry the couple realised that this was a vision that they could share. “Click Africa” was born.
“I never want to fail at anything that I put my mind to,” Josey explains the success of the TV programme.
With no prior knowledge or experience in presenting, Josey spent six months apprenticeship at “Good Morning Africa” and later on took up a short course in journalism in Nigeria.
“It was not easy. Sometimes I would review my programme and hope that the whole of Africa had had their TVs off during its airing,” she laughs.
Today “Click Africa” is a brand that opens doors, even to the offices of the richest man in Africa. Josey says one of the qualities she has learnt to admire about Aliko Dangote is his dedication to duty.
“Seven days a week, he is on his private jet travelling from one meeting to another to make things move,” enthuses the workaholic whose motto on relaxation is that it should only come when the job is done.
“The only way to relax is when everything is in order. So you can imagine that in the prevailing situation I am a worried person because as an entrepreneur I am personally feeling the pinch. That is why I made the effort to try and solve the problem instead of just waiting for things to be right one day,” she reveals why she went to knock on Dangote’s door to market Zimbabwe as the place that he needed to be.
Like most women, Josey loves using clothes to make her look and feel her best with a wardrobe encompassing Western wear and the Nigerian traditional dress which she believes brings out the woman in her.
“I love high heels, but I sometimes have to compromise because some of the heels make me tower over my husband,” she confesses.
On natural hair debate Josey is unashamedly a weave girl.
“I fight with my husband over the prices of the Brazilian and Indian hair weave and the rest. But it is important for me to know that I am groomed from head to toe and it instils confidence in me when I feel that I look my best. I can knock on any door.”
Josey’s favourite dish is the sadza and pork chop with green veggies that she serves in her own Gocha Nyama Restaurant at Joina City.
“I was eating it when I went into labour some months back and I still love it.”