Stephen Margolis Margolis Holdings Zimbabwe

Stephen Margolis is living testimony of how determination, sheer hard work  combined with a never-die-spirit, can yield the desired results. Born on June 23 1951 to peasant parents at Chivhinge village in the semi barren Murehwa Communal Lands, like many of his age, young Stephen used to  walk 20km barefoot, to and from school at St. Paul's Roman Catholic  Musami Mission. His spare time, as was the routine with boys of his age  at the time, was spent tilling the land or herding cattle and goats.

The third born in a family of seven, Stephen came to Harare in 1967 after  completing school to look for employment so that he could supplement his parents' meager earnings and help look after his family. He did all  sorts of odd jobs including working as a fire fighter in the railways  and selling insurance policies
Because of his insatiable appetite to succeed, he started his own company,  Margolis Trading in 1981 which marked the turning point in his life.

Construction of the $45 million Margolis Plaza, situated along Speke Avenue  stretching from Harare Street and Kaguvi street have been completed. The building, formerly a block of flats, has two wings with each wing  consisting of three floors of high quality office space. The Plaza  featuring 10 shops on the ground floor, also has a three-entrance arcade with a sun roof on the center.

The complex was built by ISM  Contsruction, who were also the electrical and plumbing contractors.  Subcontractors were Thermacool (air extraction), Creative Systems (shop  fronts and portioning), Wan Brothers (electrical engineer), and Margolis Construction (outside louvers)

"It was difficulty, I did not have capital but I was determined to go into  exports and imports business. After being turned down by many financiers for a loan because I did not have collateral, a guarantor finally  agreed to finance my first consignment of hardware equipment at a cost  of $12," said Stephen as he sat in his posh office in the three-floor  Margolis Plaza building, one of achievements of never-die spirit.

The first consignment was a flop and he could not pay back the money.  However, his financial backers understood his plight and agreed to  continue financing him.

"You see, I had no experience in this line of business. I am one of those  people who believe in learning something on the job. Eventually the  company started making money and I was able to pay back the loan and  even ventured into real estate business as well as manufacturing health  care products. I had to compete with well-established companies with  strong financial bases. For one to succeed in this business, one has to  be honest, hardworking and be able to fulfill promises.

"My advice to upcoming business people is be honest and not to bite more than what they can chew," he said.

Now the proud owner of Margolis Plaza Complex and a chain of other business outlets, Steve does business with countries as far afield as China,  Germany, Malaysia, India, England and many others worldwide.

As he speaks with awe of what he calls the pride of his life, the Margolis Plaza, which has 10 shops at the bottom, three floors of office space  and two wings and his home to 62 companies, Steve whose rise is a  typical rags to riches story says a lot of guys of his generation are  more solid in life because they had to work hard to be what they are.  They also had a lot of responsibilities at home, including sharing  whatever little they earned with extended families.

It is this background that has seen him engaging in a lot of humanitarian  work. Recently, he was instrumental in raising funds for Musami Mission  Hospital, where as a boy, he attended a school that was almost  collapsing and he managed to get equipment worth millions of dollars.

It was in this spirit that in 1999, a subsidiary of his company, Margolis  Medicals, introduced the Nurse of the Year Award in an effort to  motivate, boost morale and thank nurses for their important role they  play in health delivery in the country.

"We started the awards with the walfare of nurses at heart. The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has been very supportive and assists with the  selection of the winners. Since the inception of the awards, we have  never looked back and will continue with the awards to show our  appreciation for the work being done by the nurses," said Margolis.

United Bulawayo Hospital nurse, Stembinkosi Sibanda, is the latest to win  after being crowned Nurse of the Year at a colourful ceremony held at a  Harare hotel recently. She pipped 15 other provincial representatives to walk away with a cash prize of $15 000. Tendai Westehof's Glamour  Modeling School pledged over $25 000 worth of prizes. These included a  three months modeling and grooming course, six months of pedicure from  her beauty therapist, a facial package and a host of other beauty  products and a foreign designed costume which she will wear on her  graduation at the modeling school.

Tendai said the prizes would ensure that nurses maintain their reputation of  cleanliness. Yvonne Burutsa of Harare Hospital and Belinda Gwati came  second and third respectively and walked away with cash prizes of $10  000 and $7 000.

"This is the best day of my life. I never thought that my work could be  recognized like this. I want to thank God for this and all the sisters  and matrons I work with. This is not my award alone, but it came about  through team work," said an elated Stembinkosi, who urged other nurses  to contest the award as an encouragement and a challenge to them.

Acting Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, who was the guest of honour, paid tribute to al nurses in the country for the  sterling work they were doing under difficult conditions.

"I hope that this trend of cleanliness and caring for the sick continues  among you. You belong to a distinguished and wonderful profession. That  is why you put on those white colours. Thank you for the work that you  are doing to make ours a healthy society," he said.

In coming up with the winners, two nurses are selected by their matrons  from each health center and are secretly monitored. Their names are then forwarded to the provincial level where they are screened down to 16  who will then go to the national level where the final winners are  seleted.

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