Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Ganizo | Business and Industry

Oscar Habeenzu: A Coffeelectual in a Progressive Africa

Africa is progressing. This progress being forged in a Digital Age by published global minds like Oscar Habeenzu, the Coffeelectual, passionate about Africa’s economic prosperity. He leads his businesses with fluidity and post-Covid foresight; all benefiting readers and clients. 

Between 2019 to 2021, at Cabanga Media Group, he has led the publishing over two million business words, and 100 business magazine issues, in eight African countries, that were read and downloaded by over a million times. The business content he creates is penned in such an insightful way that feels like readers are being handed competitive advantages of the topic in question. 

His story is one of perspective, as Africa is starved of it. Oscar Habeenzu is forging a new perspective of analysis and interpretation of economics, entrepreneurship and profitable business in Africa, through creation of business content, used by investors and business owners.

You can argue your points home until you are blue in face, but there are just some things coffee drinkers do better than everyone else roaming the face of the planet. Oscar Habeenzu, is one such Coffeelectual; an inspiration of today’s generation in Africa.

How did he start all this, even become an influencer in business media; he must be an election rigger, or is he? 

Born Zambian, raised Zimbabwean, Oscar Habeenzu (a.k.a Manduku) is a post-Covid thought leader whose influence has been recorded for several years straight. In 2013, Oscar Habeenzu was listed 95th Most Influential Zimbabwean Under 40, amongst influencers that pull crowds in their thousands, and remained in this list until 2018/9. His influence was, and is in the way of published business content that is packed with insight, empowering readers with global knowledge, having local applicability.

After a series of storms toward his name, running up to 2018, as every strategist in history is known to have done, Oscar moved “Out of the Maze”, and established a new dispensation in his business life. As the storms raged, New York and London were knocking at his door with syndication deals. A story for another day. He got out of the maze, to become a fulltime Coffee Tourist and continental media entrepreneur. 

Oscar Habeenzu is the founder of Cabanga Media Group (Pty) Ltd, a South African based multinational online media business with publications, portals, and online technology investments in Botswana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He founded Cabanga Media Group with the counsel of men and women loyal to Africa’s tomorrow, and efficient use of Working Capital from happy customers in the said countries. He lives a cost-effective life, and runs the business in a manner that allows its content to be globally competitive, yet locally relevant. 

He serves as non-executive director in serval companies and organisations in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These include Leon-Air, Kufunga Foundation, Women’s Farming Syndicate, and Kupa Creative Group. He is a well-thought business mind, relatable, and a fundraiser for charitable initiatives, believing in giving back to communities in such a Financial Age of ESGs.

Action Packed, and from humble beginnings, Oscar Habeenzu has gone on to become a business leader and entrepreneur in a Digital Age of Africa. As an entrepreneur, he is known for his unconventional problem-solving methods, integrity and easy-going nature in his interactions with clients and colleagues. A scholar by nature, he is currently completing his MBA (major in Media Leadership), whilst running the media group. 

His career begun in 1995, when as a teenager he started off as a Data Capture Clerk, Programmer (Software Developer), Technician, and then in 2001 became IT Manager. The radical move from Technician to IT Manager was due to his demonstrated expertise in Web, ERPs, CRMs, and Systems Development that saved the Zimpapers Limited (a listed Zimbabwean media company) working capital at his assigned subsidiaries. A few years later, he took up a Researcher Internship with a senior officer at the African Regional Intellectual Property (ARIPO), researching and publishing research papers on eCommerce in Zimbabwe and Zambia from 2003-2005. 

He moved on to become a Systems Analyst for the Integrated Spatial Resources in Harare, and led software development for Market Research analytical applications for projects by Research International, that included Unilever South East Africa, and government departments, from 2005 to 2007. In this same period, he continued a dual-citizenship approach to technology and media, developing software for Call Centres, whilst writing books and business content. 

As he was consulting as a Systems Analyst, he spread his wings into Digital Marketing in 2006, launching an online newspaper that turned into a Magazine in Zimbabwe and Zambia called Mauya Travel Guide. 

The magazine transformed into what later became an online media company in 2010. During this same period, he wrote a book called “A Successful Website”, a book that only sold 26 copies, each giving him a Web Development consultancy that then created a business called iNduku Africa, later to be incorporated into current enterprises. Under iNduku Africa, there are over 1,000 website projects across the world. 

In 2007, Oscar Habeenzu turned on the volume in Digital Marketing, by consulting for Innov8 Motivation Group, and then getting appointed National Director of Youth Encounter Zimbabwe, a then 25-year-old teenage and twenty-somethings outdoor adventure and personal development organisation. 

It was at Youth Encounter that he wrote his debut book “Beyond Rebellion”, whose second edition was released in 2013 in Zimbabwe. The book was based on a market research project that he called “The Behaviour Report”; later to be converted into a publication that contributed to the lives of executives and thought leaders in Zimbabwe for until 2016. A story for another day.

In 2013, he wrote and published a marketing strategy book titled “Brand Ideology”, a book about discursive insights for arrogant local brands in Zimbabwe, and similar markets, based on urban culture of Reggae music. The book was reviewed by the national newspaper, The Herald, as "Stimulus package for proudly Zimbabwean brands". To prove his theories in the book Oscar Habeenzu took up a challenge by a local DJ at a night club popular with youths in Harare. On December 31st, 2013, with his friend Terry Nkhuwa, he showed up for a Dancehall Clash (DJ competition), and going first, he played one song that was released the day before in Jamaica. 30 Seconds into the song, the challenger, though being the host, in his home ground, thew the towel and conceded defeat. Brand Ideology theories were proved and practically qualified. Defeated brands are defeated from onset, as are victor brands victorious from ideological conception. He is working on the African Edition of the book. 

Soon after the youth adventure leadership stint, Oscar Habeenzu moved on to consult as Web Developer and Content Creator for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010, building their cluster website, and creating content for a contracted period. 

During this period, he was appointed Chairman for the Advertising and Publicity Club of Harare, a social networking and event club for executives and business owners in Media, Advertising and Communications founded in 1963. He led the executives club from 2010 until 2014, and resigned from the club and other networking activities at the passing of his mother. In 2010, he started an advertising agency that he ran in the background, named after his son Kupa. Kupa Creative Group (Pty) Ltd is now a South African based advertising and investment company with multinational business accounts in its portfolio. Another story for another day.

At the birth of his son in 2010, the booked “A Successful Website” was re-written and published as “Everyone Online Zimbabwe” targeted at Marketing executives. The book was reviewed by Managing Editor of ZimboJam, Fungai Tichawangana, saying “No one really knows how Zimbabweans use the Internet, their surfing habits and what their online needs are. It’s one of those areas that have remained steeped in mystery, covered by technological jargon and hindered by infrastructural shortcomings- until now”. 

Everyone Online went on to become the basis of his current Digital Marketing agency and training Academy called DigitalPlus. DigitalPlus is a Digital Marketing Agency, operating in several African Markets, and a training consulting firm based in South Africa. The DigitalPlus Course, is a professional occupational development course, created for and managed by Cabanga Media Group (Pty) Ltd, to train the Marketer, Business Owner, and Manager on marketing in digital cyberspaces the African Way, for African businesses and brands. 

With unique theories, concepts and case studies, the DigitalPlus course includes subjects like Internet and Social Media Fundamentals, Content Marketing, Social Media Advertising, Email Marketing, Digital Public Relations, Social Media Security, Consumer Behaviour and Analytics, Campaign Management and Digital Anti-Terrorism. 

The course follows the South African territory educational methodologies for teaching and assessment. The DigitalPlus course has been active since 2015, and went regional in 2018, with remote classes hosted via social networking videos. There are over 25 companies trained in South Africa alone, that include Accounting Firm like Setbooks Accounting in Gauteng, and pharmaceutical companies like Genesis Pharmaceuticals in North West.

To prove the concepts and theories of the DigitalPlus course, Oscar Habeenzu, consulted for the Money Group, for 100 Days ending mid-August 2021. Money Group is a financial service and FMCG multinational company with brands and businesses in SA, MZ, ZM, UAE, and Hong Kong. At Money Group, Oscar Habeenzu executed interventions that increased Brand Visibility and generated Sales Leads for their subsidiaries - Forex World, Cash Center, and Emperor Finance, of over 14,000% in return on investment of Advertising budgets. Interventions included Digital Marketing Audits, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (Google Ads), Social Media Advertising, Email Marketing, Content Creation, Analytics, Ad Campaign Management, and Content Marketing.

Other notable radical consultancies he has taken include being the Personal Assistant, PR Manager, and Teaching Assistant to the late Gift Sibanda, then CEO of 3Eyes and Guest Lecturer at Africa University’s MIP programme from 2013-2015, which all of the above are just a tip of an iceberg. His mentor, Gift Sibanda, the former Director General of ARIPO, downloaded all things Intellectual Property and business in Africa, which served as a foundation for future media enterprises.

In 2016, Oscar Habeenzu, was contracted by private investors, to grow an online media company in Zimbabwe, for a three-year period, called Online Media Group (OMG Africa). He led the company, growing it from one publication to fifteen titles, and in July 2017, Bloomberg LLP syndicated OMG for a three-year period for several of its titles. Exposure to international digital newsrooms, coupled with his visionary perspective has earned him opportunities to work and partner with global and regional organisations and FMCG brands. He was selected to head OMG Africa because of his publication TheBehaviourReport, that was incorporated into the stable. TheBehaviourReport was an "eccentric and refreshingly great content" platform as reviewed by TechZim, the leading technology magazine and portal in Zimbabwe.

In June 2019, Oscar Habeenzu started the journey of African business media and thought leadership publishing, with his private partners, established thoughtful business magazines and content portals in Botswana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, under the one house called Cabanga Media Group. 

Cabanga Media Group is currently courting New York and London, for syndication and expansion into Africa, in the production and publishing of thoughtful African business content for a progressive Africa, under the leadership of Oscar Habeenzu. He is the Group Publisher, overseeing Magazine Publishing, Market Intelligence, Advertising, and other investments. 

In 2020, at the height of the first wave of the Covid19 Pandemic and Lockdowns, Oscar Habeenzu established, and became lead Strategist for the group’s consulting subsidiary called GetAPlan, a business and market strategy consulting firm, whose post-Covid expertise has helped raise R178 million in Working Capital in 2020 running into 2021 for diverse industries in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Since 2006, Oscar Habeenzu has personally mentored and invested in students on attachment at the various organisations he led. He has worked with over ten universities in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Kenya, and Nigeria, to develop technology, media and marketing students.

There are numerous testimonies from people across Africa on how his extensive knowledge in Digital Marketing, Business, and Economics; where he has been qualified as a guru and an unconventional genius that brought ideas and insights for business improvement and growth. 

Lessons to learn from this Coffeelectual’s life include being focused on your goals and pursuing them persistently, with consistency, building great teams, fostering partnerships, taking risks and thinking beyond oneself for the greater good – Africa in his case.

Oscar Habeenzu is a grounded voice in the Business media in Africa, a market leader in the increasingly dynamic world of publishing in Africa and across the world.

Source: Three Men on A Boat, GetAPlan, The Herald, Techzim, ZimboJam