Nominated by: Dianne Tyers
Seconded by: Gail Figaro and Nicola Mullane
“Divine, my dear big sister…you are an unstoppable trailblazer who continuously raises the bar in everything that you do and are not limited by societal expectations of what a woman can and should achieve. Tonight, you are being honored not only for your contribution to business but also for the many philanthropical and women empowerment initiatives you have initiated, supported, and continue to support. In spite of your very hectic schedule, you always intentionally take the time to coach and mentor both the current and new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs – as you always say “what is the point having all this knowledge and keeping it to yourself’. What I admire the most about you is how you have dealt with your success with integrity, dignity, fearlessness, generosity and humour. You are such an inspiration and I am truly honoured to have this opportunity to congratulate you on your induction. Skills in heels, gumboots and matenesi…Pamamonya ipapo”
Clara Mlambo Managing Director of BOC Gases and Chair of Zimtrade
“Divine’s induction into the Excellence Hall of Fame by the Fellows of the Business Excellence Institute speaks volumes about the woman of excellence, impact, and a huge role model that she is to the women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and globally. Divine is hope giving to the girl child and has paved a way for aspiring women entrepreneurs. She is a symbol of hope, success, and possibilities. Divine’s businesses have uplifted many women into industries previously dominated by men and has changed the lives of men and women alike. The testimonials of impact that are shared by the people who work with her, speaks to her philanthropic heart and the deep desire to make the lives of other people better. She is an exemplary leader, astute in her ways and determined to make a difference. Her legacy will span across generations. Well-deserved recognition!”
Gloria Zvaravanhu Managing Director of Old Mutual Insurance Company
“Congratulations on your induction into the Excellence Hall of Fame. It is with immense admiration and genuine delight that I extend my heartfelt congratulations to you. Your remarkable achievements and unwavering commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on the business world. Your visionary leadership, coupled with your tireless dedication, has inspired a generation of entrepreneurs and executives to push beyond limits and strive for greatness. Your impact not only extends to the success of your own ventures but also to the countless lives you have touched and positively influenced along the way. This Divine induction is a true testament to your extraordinary journey and serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring leaders worldwide. Well done, Doc!”
Philip Mataranyika CEO, Nyaradzo Group
A serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, speaker, and an advocate for the empowerment of women, Divine is one of Africa’s most successful women.
She was born and grew up in rural Gutu, in the south of Zimbabwe. In 1980, equipped with an accounting diploma, Divine went to work for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation as an Accounting Officer. In 1982, she took a job with Old Mutual (an insurance company headquartered in South Africa) before going to work as a Marketing Executive for Intermarket Life Assurance, a Zimbabwean insurance company now known as ZB Insurance, in 1985.
While in those jobs, Divine (who had wanted to run her own business since she was a young girl) was always hustling with something entrepreneurial on the side, such as buying and selling clothes or – once she had amassed the funds – buying an 8-tonne truck to rent out to a construction company. This venture later came to an end when she needed to sell the truck to rescue her family’s farm. In 1992, having rescued the farm, she became its formal owner and so went into the farming business, mortgaging her home to finance a crop which was destroyed by a drought that year.
By 1995, although she kept the farm alive (and today still holds the role of Managing Director of Zvikomborero Farms in Hampshire Featherstone), she was on the verge of losing her house so she re-joined Intermarket and became one of their most successful marketing executives. Determined to have her own successful business, she also enrolled in a UN EMPRETEC Entrepreneurial Development Programme and kept exploring possible business opportunities. In 1998, she identified an opportunity in security services.
Despite there being a strong customer desire for better security, in this heavily male-dominated industry, Divine saw a total lack of professionalism, quality, and service. The market was effectively an oligopoly, consisting of a few complacent incumbents and a few small companies that lacked the resources needed to look after large clients. Like the smaller companies, Divine had next to no resources but she had a conviction that there was a viable, untapped market for quality security services so, at the end of 1998, she established SECURICO in her home with an administrator and 3 security operatives. Formal incorporation followed in 2000.
SECURICO became the first Zimbabwean staffed security company to earn ISO 9001 certification. It has since also earned ISO 14001 (Environmental) and 450001 (Occupational Health and Safety) certifications. In 2011, SECURICO was named company of the year in Zimbabwe’s National Quality Awards and it also won the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship Grand Prize, beating over 3400 companies from 48 African countries. In 2019, the company was named as one of the Companies to Inspire Africa by the London Stock Exchange.
It has been adjudged in the Top Ten Best Employers in Zimbabwe for many years and has won the Super-brand of the Year in the security sector. The company has grown – both organically and by acquisition – to become the market leader, providing a comprehensive range of security and risk assessment services including electronic security systems and the secure transportation and management of cash and bullion. It has led the market to new heights, transforming not only the industry but also the self-esteem of those working in the sector and the acceptance of women who were previously perceived as unsuitable for security work (approximately 25% of the company’s 4000 strong staff are women, making it the largest private sector employer of women in Zimbabwe).
Divine credits her father and mother, who taught her family to love and respect others regardless of their social status, with some of the important values she brings to business. She believes in perseverance and the importance of integrity and is driven by her values and the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of her staff and others around her. One example of this is SECURICO’s policy of hiring widows and single mothers, empowering them in a world where they find it hard to get a job. Divine gains more satisfaction from how her efforts have made a huge difference in other women’s lives than from the profits her business has made over the years.
In 2021, faced with the impact of the pandemic on schooling, Divine established the Mbuya Mary Simbi Library and Computer Lab in rural Gutu to help the community of her birth. A total of 3000 learners are benefiting from this initiative.
Since founding SECURICO, Divine has received numerous accolades, including being named by EMPRETEC as their Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001 and the (services sector) Entrepreneur of the Decade in 2002. In 2008, the Institute of Directors named her Zimbabwe Director of the Year in the SME category and the following year she was runner-up for their Overall Director of Year. In 2012, she won an Individual Zimbabwean National Quality Award. In 2013, she was named the Zimbabwe Investment Authority’s Woman in Investor of the Year, African Achievers’ African Woman of the Year, Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government, and Empretec listed her as one of the 10 most Influential Businesspeople Post Independence Zimbabwe.
In 2014, she won the EY Exceptional World Entrepreneur Award for Southern Africa, an International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge award, and was named one of UNCTAD/Empretec Top Ten Global Women in Business. In 2016, she won the Zimbabwe Institute of Management’s Leadership Excellence Award In 2019, she was named Forbes Africa Businesswoman in 2019 and, in 2021, in recognition of her valuable contribution to the economy of Zimbabwe, she was presented with the nation’s Commendation Hero Medal by the President of Zimbabwe. She was also inducted into the non-profit youth organization JA Worldwide Global Business Hall of Fame. In 2022, she won the African Leadership Legend Award and a Zimbabwean National Iconic Entrepreneurs Award. Earlier this year, Forbes named her in their 2023 “50 over 50” women in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Divine encourages women and young people to become entrepreneurs. She has founded – and is very involved with – several initiatives supporting women to realize their dreams and scale their enterprises. She is the founder of the Woman Owned Business Initiative’s Mentorship in Practice programme – an offshoot of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards – which she started in 2013 to help women scale up their businesses. She was also the first Southern African Development Community member of the Women Presidents Organization.
She has shared her entrepreneurial journey with numerous audiences around the globe to help the young and mature women of Africa and has helped make it possible for Zimbabweans to hold their own in a world that sees more negatives than positives in their nation.
In 2011, she graduated with Executive MBA from Midlands State University and in 2012 was granted an honorary MBA from Women’s University in Africa in recognition of her business leadership and work on gender equality. She was subsequently also awarded a Doctorate in Business Leadership from Women’s University in Africa in 2015.
Divine has been appointed to board membership, directorship, chairmanship and leadership capacities in several key and strategic institutions and commissions in Zimbabwe including being President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce in 2017/2018.
She had a dream, a dream to provide a decent education and livelihood for her family, build generational wealth for her family, a dream to create jobs and make a difference in the economy of Zimbabwe, a dream to see women owning their own means of production. A dream she has achieved thus far as she continues to move forward.
A firm believer in the “family is everything” mantra, she has raised 8 children, only one being her biological child, all of whom have attained high levels of education, despite having been widowed in 2002 at the age of 41 by her late husband Stanley Ndhlukula.
Divine was voted into the Excellence Hall of Fame by the Institute’s Fellows in recognition of her lifelong pursuit of excellence, her business acumen, her contribution to women in the workplace, and her positive influence on Zimbabwean society.