Business Synergy is when one plus one equals four
THE slightly built young man invariably finds himself hunched over and intently
peering at something on the computer screen. It was quite evident that the young
fellow was very much at home behind the “wonder box”: Exactly on cloud nine.
Born in 2000, Michael Nyamukapa started to grow an interest in computers at the
tender age of 10. His father was an army chaplain, but had a passion for repairing
broken-down computers. He would bring home some damaged laptops to work on
over the weekend.
Initially the young boy’s curiosity lay with what would be the end game of his father
fumbling with the mesh of thin wires and components. What would happen when all
those parts finally came together? What he saw fascinated him: Colourful pictures,
figures and moving shapes on the screen.
Twice at school, the teachers had denied him the much desired opportunity to get
close to the machine.
At Robert Gabriel Mugabe Primary School, in Marondera, they thought he was not
smart enough to be in the computer class.
And at Cherutombo High School, he struck the teachers as someone not good
enough to make sense of the mystical machine. Nonetheless, the boy’s passion was
not dampened. The soft-spoken but obdurate young man could not be browbeaten
He would ask for some notes and tutorial materials from friends who did the subject.
After school hours, when the other boys would go and play soccer and basketball at
the sports field, Michael would sneak off to spend his time-and pocket money – in
the internet café in town.
Against all the odds, he soldiered on. I always want to reflect on the determination of
the salmon fish which swims against the current whenever it is breeding time.
Michael clearly remembers how at one time his parents had chastised him for putting
on his phone’s WhatsApp profile pictures of himself driving expensive cars. They
thought such wild desires for the high life would drive the young man into crime.
This was soon after he had mastered the computer technique of “background
changing” (commonly known as “photo-shopping”). This is a skill commonly used in
the design of adverts.
After he completed high school, he got a job as a sales assistant with a local
hardware company. Someone who had just opened a small IT shop was looking for
a young, honest fellow who was both passionate and knowledgeable about
computers, to work with him. This is how Michael and the stocky twenty-four year old
Tawanda Beta got partnered.
Tawanda says he developed an interest in computers when he was still at crèche.
Unlike Michael, Tawanda was given the opportunity to learn computers at school. So
after Mavhudzi High School in Nyazura, it came as no surprise that he chose to
pursue a Bachelor of Technology degree programme in computers at the Harare
Institute of Technology (HIT).
He did his industrial attachment at Axis Solutions, an IT consultancy company in
Harare. He impressed them so much they immediately hired him soon after he
competed his degree.
Tawanda speaks highly of Michael’s drive and creativity. He says the young man has
an insatiable thirst for new knowledge and is always googling to find answers. I once
approached him to create the contents page for my document. He admitted he had
not done that before but was prepared to research and give it his best shot. And hey
presto! He did a fantastic job of it!
Not long ago, he had ventured and done a website for a local construction company.
They fell in love with his work.
The pair indeed make an exciting combination. They mastered information
technology in their own very different ways: One by conjecture and the other by
lecture. Like that famous verbose speaker of English would put it: “Birds of the same
plumage perambulate in proximity”.
Currently, their business provides a broad scope of services: Typing and printing;
banners, posters, charts and receipt books; T-shirt printing designing logos and
branding; photocopying and laminating; website creation.
The unassuming Michael is rather reluctant to open up on his future plans. Tawanda
agrees that the two of them are definitely stronger together. They make a formidable
IT partnership. Theirs is definitely a match made in the clouds.
He sees the business expanding into designing a variety of business systems. That
is the way modern business is headed, Tawanda explains. It is a one-way traffic
lane: Make no mistake about that. Tawanda further explains that their field is so
much knowledge-intensive they do not need a lot of equipment and space for their
Business partnerships are smart. The strength of the dovetail joint lies in the diversity
of its parts.