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Women of Substance

Success calls for hard work – Madondo

Ndamu Sandu

LONGMAN Zimbabwe’s managing director Mazvita Patricia Madondo has come a long way.

l, Helvetica, sans-serif”>To lead such an organisation requires determination and boundless enthusiasm.

“When I was growing up I used to watch people from Sable Chemicals in Kwekwe coming and going to work and it became my dream to study chemistry and work for Sable Chemicals,” she said.

This induced her to work hard in her studies. It came as no surprise when she left for the United States to study chemistry.

Upon her return from America with a BSc degree in chemistry in 1982, Madondo went into teaching, not out of choice but because it was the available job.

This did not deter Madondo as she taught at three schools – Lydia Chimonyo High School for girls, Morgan High School and Mazowe Boys High School.

When she looks back with nostalgia Madondo reckons Mazowe Boys as the school where she enjoyed teaching the most.

But teaching proved less challenging for the ambitious Madondo. She left teaching and ventured into the publishing world where she joined College Press.

Madondo felt that working at College Press was an indirect way of teaching, especially as she was involved in editing science and maths school textbooks.

She rose to the post of senior editor in 1989 and in 1992 to editorial manager.

In 1997 she left and became a full time student at the University of Zimbabwe where she studied for her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree.

She recalls: ” It was a very stressful time for me. I was trying to juggle the roles of wife, mother and student. In the end I had to keep the maid at home over weekends. I decided to teach my two boys to cook.

“First we did breakfast then moved on to lunch and supper. They now cook very well. The other problem was that I had to let my husband attend family functions without me because of my university commitments. It was painful for me but I received a lot of family support during this period and had to work harder so that I would not let them down. This MBA was also going to make me more marketable.”

Her dissertation for the MBA was corporate turnaround and Madondo was given the opportunity to turn theory into practice.

After com-leting her st-udies, Madon-do enrolled at Zimbabwe Publishing House in 1998 and turned the organisation from a non-profit making venture in to a profitable one living up to her passion of turning chaos into order.

The year 2001 saw Madondo assuming the post of managing director of Longman Zimbabwe.

“This organisation is more challenging and has an international flair,” she says.

An avid reader, Madondo says the trait is hereditary.

She draws inspiration from her late mother who at eighty-three was fond of reading newspapers. At 55, Madondo’s mother enrolled to do a Red Cross nursing course.

Madondo does not believe in affirmative action.

“One must get a job on merit and not expect to get everything on a silver plate. If women are willing to work hard they are able to be anything they aspire to be,” she said.

The last child in a family of twelve, Madondo says she learned early in life to be assertive.

Married to James Madondo who is the business information systems manager for OK Zimbabwe, Madondo is mother to Masimba (19) and Mutsa (17).

She is the vice-chairperson of the National Commercial Employers’ Association of Zimbabwe where she serves as the only woman.

She also wears the hat of vice- chairperson of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair.

For a person of humble beginnings and enrolling at Mukuni South Primary School, St Augustine and Mutambara High School to rise to such heights, it needs hard work and enthusiasm. For Madondo the sky is the limit.

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