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Sky the limit for Longman’s Chitapi

Ndamu Sandu

GENERAL manager (operations) of Longman Zimbabwe Selina Mercy Chitapi (38) has acquitted herself well with the organisation in a short

space of time.

The first born in a family of five, Chitapi had a pleasant and comfortable childhood. Her parents always encouraged her to work hard.

She did her primary education at Tendai and Chipembere primary schools in Mufakose and Highfield respectively. She then went to Goromonzi High School for her secondary education from 1980 to 1985.

The year 1986 saw Chitapi enrolling for her degree in agriculture majoring in animal science. At the back of her mind then was to become an agricultural officer.

But on completion of her degree in 1988, there was a change in career path. She joined the then Dairy Marketing Board as laboratory technician. Because of her hard work, Chitapi was promoted to production controller in charge of the ice cream and yoghurt plants in 1990. She was to remain in this position for five years.

In 1992, Chitapi was sent on a staff development programme at the University of Zimbabwe. This saw her completing the executive development programme with merit. For her industry, Chitapi was awarded the Surgimed shield for being one of the best students on the programme.

This was the tonic she needed to continue with her education. In 1994 Chitapi enrolled for the Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA). Upon completion of the MBA in 1996, Selina became one of the first area sales managers after the commercialisation of Dairy Marketing Board.

She was part of the team that turned around the organisation.

Armed with an MBA and vital sales experience, it was time to move on.

Chitapi joined Chibuku Brewery as sales and distribution manager in 1998.

“The experience at the brewery was very exciting but left me with little time for my family and this prompted me to move to a starch and glucose manufacturing concern, Food & Industrial Processors as marketing manager,” she said.

The experience exposed Selina to export markets within the region. Chitapi moved to Zimbabwe Farmers Development Trust (a non-profit making organisation) as executive director. She was exposed to the administrative side of the business before moving to Longman Zimbabwe in October 2003 as general manager. She finds the position challenging and is enjoying every minute in the book world.

Chitapi has a passion for farming and says that she has ambitions to venture into lucrative tobacco growing this coming season.

As a God-fearing person, Chitapi is a full member of the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe.

She owes her success to the support and encouragement from the family.

She still has aspirations and dreams and is enrolling for a doctorate degree next year.

Chitapi is executive committee member of Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association and Women in Business skills development Zimbabwe.

To the girl child she has this to say: “Dreams can only become reality through self belief, determination and hard work.”

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