Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
ON one’s way to Hope Fountain, one goes past Lavinia turn in Waterford, the suburb that houses modellling guru, Sipho Mazibuko’s Lavinia Gardens, a landmark in that precinct.
Besides Mazibuko being Waterford’s poster woman, just a few metres from her house lives another celebrity of similar artistic proportions, Mandoza.
Themba “Mandoza” Moyo is making waves with spectacular signage, printing services, toy-making, and landscaping services. He is the face behind Ndoza Signings, a business venture that has made him a household name. His handiwork hangs in front of almost every house in the leafy suburb, directing people to where they need to be.
“I remember the first time doing art was early in my primary school days when I used to have the ground as my canvas to showcase what only my mind could fathom. At the time, I didn’t understand what I was doing, but playtime was my happy time as I would draw figures, cars, flowers, planes anything to pass time,” Mandoza told Saturday Leisure.
“That passion and love for art later grew into an obsession, siring an unquenchable fire in my belly. I started collecting plastic and tins to bring my ideas to life, making toy cars with wires and tins. Before I knew it, I had made quite a sizeable number of them and people started to show interest, purchasing them for their children. Since then, I have never looked back.”
From signage signaling house addresses and also giving directions, Mandoza has been the go-to guy in Waterford.
“In life, I didn’t see myself being someone that would grow to be known and loved by a lot of people, let alone a whole suburb, but God has been gracious enough to confer me with such a status. Wherever I go, people greet and wave at me, even little children. What more can one want if showered with such kind of love? NginguMandoza kayione kubo (To them, I am the one and only Mandoza),” he said.
Some of his handiworks have been showcased at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and some near the Large City Hall area where artefacts and other items of that nature are sold.
Besides the love he has been getting from Waterford, Mandoza bemoans exploitation as an enemy of progress.
“Being loved is something and getting your dues is another. Many times, I have been taken advantage of, especially in fiscal terms. People inquire about services and end up going quiet on me without paying for my products and services. Maybe people take advantage of my situation since I can’t afford any legal representation and only have verbal agreements with them.
“Exploitation is top on the pecking order of some of the challenges that I have faced in my career. Also, I’m in need of financial assistance to be able to carry out my duties effectively. My job requires me to stock paint, wire, and plastics to keep flowers that I use and sell when I’m doing my landscaping rounds,” said Mandoza.
When a Chronicle Showbiz crew visited Mandoza, he was thick in the mix, engaged in his latest project which will see him design and make a bus towing a trailer for Highlanders Football Club.
The yard which is his workstation resembles a would-be-orchard with flowers in plastic containers, ready for sale.
Just a stone’s throw from Mandoza’s residence is Mazibuko’s Lavinia Gardens, one of the sites where Mandoza has worked his magic with his landscaping skills.
The self-taught jack of all trades has mastered and managed to gather some furniture for himself.
“I remember this other time where Waterford’s police force gave me a bed for putting up a sign at the shops, directing people where their (police) station is. It was one of my proudest moments. I cannot thank them enough,” shared Mandoza with a smile.
He surely enjoys what he does and believes that 2023 will be a good year for him.
“In the past, the road has been rugged and bumpy, but I just feel optimistic about 2023. I see myself achieving and getting more clientele and help. I’m a very optimistic person and that has fueled me to persevere amidst all the challenges that I have faced,” articulated Mandoza. — @eMKlass_49