He got his first pair of shoes when he was in Grade 7 only.
Determined to overcome poverty, Oliver Chikodzore (32) an economist by profession, managed to establish himself as a successful entrepreneur.
He is not only the managing director of a marketing and advertising company but also runs three other businesses by himself where he does small scale farming and manufactures African clothing.
The company he manages, On the Globe Marketing and Advertising, does communications, events, writing and translation services, media campaigns and public speaking.
Regarding one of his publications, Stellenbosch Magazine, he says he wanted to write stories that inspired people. “It’s marketing where you bring people together.”
As an entrepreneur and especially an entrepreneur in Stellenbosch, Oliver Chikodzore believes that businesses should collaborate.
“Stellenbosch is tough. There are systems called semiotics that may mislead you. The environment is not conducive for entrepreneurs. As young or aspiring entrepreneurs collaborate, they create a market among themselves. That is why I believe in collaboration – that we should shoulder one another.”
Born in Zimbabwe to a South African mother and Zimbabwean father, Chikodzore believes everyone has a role to play in building the African continent. “We shouldn’t just blame other people for what is happening in the country; we must take responsibility to inspire others that it doesn’t matter where you come from or if you were born rich or poor, you can still make it in life.”
Chikodzore is a strong advocate of empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs, something his company does by running workshops, among other things.
He is also a writer who has worked for various publications and released his first book, African Hidden Potential First Edition, last year. The book is about the causes of low-level economic development, an entrepreneurship drive in Africa and the possibilities the continent offers.
About the book, he says the following: “One of the striking things I pointed out was that those who were given much have the responsibility to return much back to society. Herein lies deep wisdom, because it means that the moment I feel that I have received something, as simple as the birdsong in the early morning, this beautiful feeling rises and I feel blessed. Therefore to me abundance begins with a feeling, which I can cultivate.
“In South Africa, I experience that there is a ‘guilt consciousness’ running as an undercurrent in our social dynamics. This was born or created from historical pain and mass suffering and is yet to be healed, but cannot be healed when we keep ourselves locked in the system of perpetual guilt. This is why my messages from my book bring a message of hope and offers a new possibility.”
He is currently working on the second edition of the book.