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Meet Walter Magaya The Philanthropist

When a teenage Walter Magaya first saw Nyasha who was almost his age scavenging for food from a bin along George Silundika Avenue, in Harare...

When a teenage Walter Magaya first saw Nyasha who was almost his age scavenging for food from a bin along George Silundika Avenue, in Harare’s Central Business District, he did not hesitate to beg his parents to take him in and fund his education. 

Nyasha had stayed on the streets all his life, enduring hunger, verbal abuse and all the elements of weather- from the scorching sun to rain and cold nights.

Being given a second chance in life by someone his age was sort of “weird” yet in all its “eeriness” Nyasha’s life was transformed for the better as he got a good education and is now based in South Africa. On October 2, 2017 Prophet Magaya, the founder of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries received a letter from the University of South Africa (Unisa).

The letter said the university had decided to honour him with a doctorate for the community building work he does in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries.
Meet Walter Magaya The Philanthropist
“Each year, Professor Mlambo with the School of Theology and who is the head of Mount Zion Bible School (interdenominational) awards deserving candidates selected across South Africa and other countries with honorary Doctorate degree to recognise the good work they do in their community,” the letter said.

Being a natural giver, such news was least expected as he thought being a servant of God, he was just doing what was expected of him, waiting to reap his rewards in the second coming of the lord. On November 18, 2017 he was honoured alongside Dr Miriam Jukulu from Tanzania.

A farmer, a prophet, businessman, mentor, philanthropist, husband and father not only to his two children but thousands whose lives he has touched, Prophet Magaya has lost count of the number of less privileged people he has helped in Zimbabwe and beyond the borders. It was after he received the letter that he knew that a team from Unisa discreetly came to Zimbabwe to “spy” on him to authenticate what they had heard of his work with the community.

The Unisa’s “spy” mission included attending a church service.
“They knew about the farming venture and wanted to see first hand. Being a man of God and doing farming at the same time amazed them. They also considered the number of people I employ,” he said.

Prophet Magaya said they also looked at donations that he made not only in Zimbabwe but countries that include Botswana, South Africa , Swaziland , Zambia, South Africa, Portugal and UK, every country where their PHD offices are. The donations include houses for the less privileged among other things.

The doctorate came at a right time, he says.
“If I have received an award, this is the best. It gives a small lesson to the citizens that one must receive their flowers while they are still alive,” he added. His passion to give was sowed in him when he was a boy and his mother played a huge role in cultivating this culture in him.

“I was an only child, and always got preferential treatment. During holidays my mother would invite many relatives my age to our house, sometimes up to 18 children. My mother bought similar pairs of shoes and clothes for all of us. It used to irritate me as I expected exclusivity. I became jealous when she even bought ice cream for neighbours kids etc, but she told me we were all equal in the eyes of God,” he said.

So when the young Magaya came face to face with Nyasha’s plight, it was easy to make the decision of “adopting” him.
“In 2001, I opened my first college and took in some six guys who included Overseer Admire Mango, who is now my right hand in the ministry. It was also more like an adoption. This increased my passion of helping people.

“I attended the Roman Catholic Church and we started projects to raise money. They used the money to assist the Blood of the Lamb Christian Community, a charismatic group in the church.

“This made me continue to give and Father Micheal who was the leader of the group taught us a lot about giving. While in the Catholic Church, I noticed I was gifted. I could pray and things would happen, yet I did not understand it for such things are not popular in that church,” he said. He would eventually leave the Roman Catholic Church to start his own ministry.

“When I started a full time ministry in 2012, I was coming from a hectic moment. The country was coming out of the 2008 hyper inflationary economy. I owed people, even though my wife Tendai was a banker, we had no balance in terms of life. I remember how it felt like looking for 10 cents and R5 and not finding it. This made me respect money, any amount of money. So when I started the ministry the first thing I did was to give people as little as I could. I knew what it meant to give 50cents and a dollar,” he revealed.

Added Prophet Magaya: “I have given out more than 100 houses, cars, television sets etc. I also help the mentally challenged people often shunned by society.

“Sometimes I do not buy houses, but help with renovations. I heard the Unisa team also visited some of those beneficiaries,” he added. In the education sector, he has advanced the education of poor rural and urban children. He has been paying school fees for over 4000 rural primary and secondary school children around the country. Several hundreds of urban children have also benefited from the school fees payments.

He said they were also building a school for the Doma people, a marginalised community found in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central Province. The Doma people will attend the school for free.

There other schools are being built in Bulawayo, another three in Harare while Yadah University will be constructed in Ruwa, a satellite town of Harare. Ground surveying has already been done In the health sector, he donated $1,2 million to Parirenyatwa Hospital in August 2015, and is building a clinic for the Doma people. They also plan to build a hospital in Ruwa.

“We have 28 companies which are in their infancy. When everything is fully blown, we are looking at employing 4 000 people,” he revealed. He said they rent six farms in farming areas that include Norton 1 000 hectares, Nyabira and Concession, Bindura (900 hectares) and also employ hundreds of people. From all the people he has assisted, the plight of the Doma people made him lose sleep as he pondered how best to help them.

“There are many other encounters when I met people like Anthony who lived in a dilapidated house filled with rubbish. When we went to clean his house, we required lorries to remove dirt. He lived in an abandoned house and would go around scavenging for garbage he piled in the dilapidated structure. He slept on top of the heap of garbage, it was a sad picture.

“Maxwell, another person who touched me stayed along Mukuvisi River banks in a grass house near our church. He was very ill and when I called an ambulance to ferry him to hospital, the crew had to gently remove him from between the blankets. It was as if he was glued between the blankets. He was taken to a clinic in the Avenues and I prayed for him. He had not seen his relatives for 10 years. I bought him a house and also located his relatives who are now staying with him,” added prophet Magaya.

He also helped 12 people with disabilities with prosthetic legs and hands transforming their shattered lives. He said meeting such people for the first time raises emotions.

“When I was very young I had a lot of potential. I think I was one of the best footballers in the country but no one picked up the talent and told me what to do. I know that some people can do less things because no one has told them who they are. When I see them tattered and destroyed, and people laughing at them, I first hug them.

“The reason I do so is to show them that God loves you. I ensure they have a bath and give them good food and try to show them a good life. That is how I try to unveil the potential that may be hidden in them,” he added. He confesses that when emotions overcome him, he sometimes cries.

“Compassion overwhelms me and sometimes I cry alone. When I see the hand of God I cry alone, when I feel I failed to assist someone I cry. I usually cry when I am at the prayer mountain,” he said. Prophet Magaya says he would not be where he is where it not for his wife Tendai. He describes her as his pillar.

“She is a giver so I do not struggle to make decisions. If I want to give someone a house, I always inform her. That is why she manages Yadah on her own because she knows how to give,” he said. He added that he has instilled discipline in his two children, Yadah and Walter Junior saying they are like him in the gift but he does not want them to know.

“A gift without wisdom can destroy any man. They are not allowed to read newspapers, I do not want them to be corrupted. A lot of negative things are written in newspapers,” he said. He would want to do more to help the less privileged.

“Now that I have the honorary doctorate, I want to remain a prophet and never engage in politics,” he said. With all he has done, he still has dreams. His aspiration is to address Sadc heads of states in a different environment and has written a book “Eight Things Africa needs”.

“I do not know if this has been done before but I would like to be one of the first. If I meet Sadc leaders, I want to speak about God and the type of education we have, I feel our countries are being destroyed by the type of education we have,” he added.

He believes people have to think big. One of his teachings from, 2012 “the power of imagination” emphasises on thinking big. To those who know him, it is this imagination that has earned him the recognition by Unisa.
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