Page Nav




Breaking News


Philip Mataranyika, the Man who has Demystified Death - Nyaradzo Funeral Services

Death has a different meaning in the African context. Owning and operating a funeral business was once taboo. One man who can attest to this...

Death has a different meaning in the African context. Owning and operating a funeral business was once taboo. One man who can attest to this is Nyaradzo Group CEO Philip Mataranyika.

Twenty years ago, he wanted to launch a funeral company, but he knew the resistance that will come his way. Commemorating its 20 years of existence, Mataranyika travelled the memory lane, revealing the resistance he faced.

“When we got Nyaradzo registered with all the paperwork needed to operate as a funeral assurance company by March 2001, there was one big elephant in the room: how I would break the news to my mother,” the entrepreneur reminisced.

When his mother heard the news, she protested vehemently against the idea to his in-laws, accusing her son of “inviting misfortune to the company.” He protests to unleash a stillbirth to the funeral business was futile, and the concern was birthed.

Back then, the funeral business was a big no for the indigenous people. Venturing into such could attract rebuke and reproach from departed spirits. At the onset, the main objective of forming Nyaradzo was to provide funeral services in sync with the perceived African culture. But they had to overcome the cultural barrier first, and today more subsidiaries have been added to the group.
Philip Mataranyika, the Man who has Demystified Death - Nyaradzo Funeral Services
Philip Mataranyika
Two decades later, the company has managed to demystify death. “Along the way, Nyaradzo has altered negative stereotypes. Death no longer scares the daylights out of people,” he wrote, declaring that, “there is now acceptance” that we are all mortal beings.” These words coming from a man who has seen death countless times, it has to be believed. The company now enjoys a large chunk of the funeral market share.

At most funerals, the bereaved sing a song: “Uri soja usatye” (you a soldier, remain brave). This is directed to the grieving, as well as the departed to transform soldierly to the world yonder. The chorus aptly applies to Nyaradzo when they faced numerous storms, but elected to be steadfast. “We ventured into new frontiers and built muscle. We made bold decisions that kept us afloat and took risks,” the statement noted.

Operating in a hyperinflationary economy was a test for most businesses. The multicurrency basket was unpredictable, and some tough decisions had to be implemented. “In taking bold decisions to build the business, we had brushes with the law,” the CEO revealed. “We bought the elusive foreign currency (forex) on the then parallel market in a desperate bid to keep the business going.”

During that era, the company had three choices: close the business, blame the economy, and disappoint clients. Or source forex on the parallel market to operate. The company chose the latter avenue, leading to Mataranyika being arrested for violating foreign exchange regulations. He spent two nights in prison but was later acquitted.

And with time, some of the cynical individuals, including his mother become some of their biggest cheerleaders to propel their efforts further. The CEO has scooped numerous accolades, the latest being in 2013 courtesy of Empretec Zimbabwe, which warded him the Businessman Luminary Award.

When cyclone Idai ravaged the country, the Nyaradzo Group aided affected families, in a bid to resurrect their affected lives. “We are happy that rebuilding from the rubbles has started. It will take longer but will be done,” he declared. They are also targeting to resuscitate the environment by planting 5 million trees by 2026.

Going against the norm, the parlor served at the funeral of two national heroes. Traditionally, it was a chosen funeral company that carried all burials. Mataranyika drove the hearse carrying Olive Mtukudzi’s remains. The company repeated their feat serving as Robert Mugabe’s undertakers.

Everything You Need To Know About Phillip Mataranyika:

Phillip Mataranyika is the co-founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nyaradzo Group. From humble beginnings, Mataranyika went to school in Nyazura in Manicaland. In terms of employment, he worked for Old Mutual for fifteen years. 

He joined the company as a Benefits Administrator, rising through the ranks until he was appointed Financial Advisor, a position which he held until he left to form Nyaradzo. It must be noted that Phillip’s exploits at Old Mutual saw him scoop the Chairman’s Prize for Top Financial Advisor for five consecutive years, 1996 – 2001. Working for Old Mutual probably moulded him into the funeral assurance guru that he is now.
Philip Mataranyika, the Man who has Demystified Death - Nyaradzo Funeral Services
Philip Mataranyika
Nyaradzo as a business has grown remarkably over the 20 years that it has been in existence. From a funeral services company at its inception, Nyaradzo is now a combined group encompassing Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance, Calundike Exports, Eureka Insurance Brokers as well as Sahwira Events. The synergies between these individual companies have proved to be Nyaradzo’s competitive edge. 

Calundike manufactures coffins that are used by the funeral assurance business and Eureka Insurance specialises in insurance. 

Talk is that the group wants to venture into tourism with boats rumoured to already be in place in Kariba. The company is also venturing into foreign markets with offices already open in South Africa. The United Kingdom is in the pipeline.

Although he is often listed among the richest Zimbabweans, Mataranyika has managed to maintain his humbleness. More recently, he took it upon himself to drive the hearse which carried the body of the late music icon Oliver Mtukudzi. Nyaradzo continues to do well as a market leader in the funeral assurance sector. That the company survived through the 2008 hyperinflationary period during which many companies fell by the wayside is commendable.

Mr Mataranyika is a graduate of the Institute of Marketing Management of South Africa. He also holds a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Management from the Chinhoyi University of Technology. He has won many awards which include the Business Luminary Award (2013), Leadership Award of the Year (2013), Chief Executive Officer of the Year (2010) and the National Businessman of the Year (2010) among others.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only.

The information is provided by Nakiso TV using online sources and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose.

Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Nakiso TV is a Zimbabwean content on-demand television network owned by Nakiso Borehole Drilling.

Nakiso TV is a place where you can interact and share with thousands of social celebrities within Zimbabwe. Get access to exclusive celebrity content, photos and videos.

Are You Looking For Borehole Drilling Services? Then Contact Nakiso Borehole Drilling Today!