Dr Mati’s Story

Beginnings and Roots

In Shona culture, we do not refer to seniors by their first name. Hence, we refer to our Founder as “Doc,” as a sign of respect.

Before Us. Born on the family private farm in Msengezi, Doc Mati credits a lineage of hardworking grandparents for her enterprising spirit. Her grandfather was a Pastor and private farmer, part of a small group of trailblazers who bred the early generation of African professionals.

“Early evening sounds of my seven boisterous uncles singing church and traditional melodies – that’s what I recall most about my grandfather’s farm”

Early days. Doc Mati spent her early childhood in the Harare townships of Highfield and Harare. Her father was a primary school principal, while her mother was a nurse. She had a simple, comfortable, and happy childhood, shared with her four siblings.

My father was a keen gardener – a trait I inherited, Now very handy in Victoria Falls. Mbano Head Gardener Trymore and I have a rolling bet on who can germinate herb and vegetable seeds faster – me or him.”

Schooling. Doc Mati attended high school at mission schools, where she was Head Girl at St Ignatius College in Chishawasha. A holder of four graduate qualifications, she obtained her PhD in Business and Sustainable Tourism from Stellenbosch Cape Town.

Career. A long tourism career covered senior positions in destination marketing, airline management, hotel management and convention centre management, based in several African countries. Doc has travelled extensively, visiting over 60 countries, where she garnered an appreciation of world class hospitality in leading tourism destinations.

One of my all-time career highlights was the launch of the new British Airways global branding in 1997, a global broadcast satellite event. I coordinated the BA Africa team and we selected Victoria Falls as our launch venue. An enormous success. We invited 500 pax, expected 350, and hosted over 500 from 14 African countries!”

Awards. Her business accolades over the years include Runner-up of the Businesswoman of the Year South Africa (2011), and inaugural recipient of the Tourism Inspiration Award (2015 South Africa).

Family. Now a mother of four and grandmother of six, Doc credits her strong family background for keeping her sane and grounded.

Personal Mantras. Give me lemons, and I will make lemonade; This Too Shall Pass; He Strengthens Me.

Mbano Manor Hotel Director & Owner Mati Nyazema on a memorable family visit to Victoria Falls with her father the late EPC Rukanzakanza and sister Pet Joy (left).