The CEO of ZOL Zimbabwe, Mr. Denny Marandure, graciously welcomed Harare Magazine into his impressive and modern new offices in Borrowdale to discuss his career and accomplishments; they are many!
The wall that faces his desk has a large print that states ZOL’s Mission Statement: “To deliver simple & useful solutions that improve the way our customers live, work and play.” It also states ZOL’s Vision: “To create the most admired brand in Africa by delivering simple & useful technology, paired with excellent customer service.” Over the course of our conversation, I learned that Denny has followed his immense passion for telecommunications to achieve exactly what these two straight forward and solid statements proclaim.
His vast international experience is the cornerstone that propelled him to return to Zimbabwe and bring connectivity home. Denny earned a Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) degree from the University of Zimbabwe and an MBA from Howard University in the United States and went on to become a big boss at the mammoth telecommunications company, Verizon Communications. He spoke to us excitedly about the project he worked on with Verizon in Iraq to set up the very first mobile network there in 2004.
On a trip back to Zimbabwe in 2009, Denny was incredibly frustrated by the lack of internet connectivity in Zimbabwe and scurried back to the land of high-speed internet. But he couldn’t let go of the desire to bring his home country up to speed in the world of telecommunications. “I wanted to be the change that Zimbabwe needed,” he said.
His appointment as CEO of ZOL in September of 2014 marked the beginning of change in the ISP market. In a short period of time, Denny has accumulated many IT Awards that all reflect the astounding accomplishments he has realised. His true love of marketing has led ZOL to establish itself as a frontrunner and leading provider of Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) with the Fibroniks packages that have been so popular and now service over 35,000 customers. ZOL’s lack of awareness was short-lived once Denny took over and he has led the company to win the MAZ (Marketers Association of Zimbabwe) award for Marketing Oriented CEO of the year, two years in a row. The total list of ZOL’s awards is long and distinguished and I am sure it will continue to grow.
The recognisable orange signage we see all over town is testament to the growing footprint that Denny is committed to. His excitement about ZOL’s upcoming projects is obvious in the way he talks about them. In April 2018, the LTE base stations will be launched. This technology brings high speed internet connectivity through the use of beams that will increase reach and capacity.
ZOL is also launching an environmental initiative that is revolutionary in Zimbabwe. EnviroServe is an e-waste recycling effort that will provide bins – orange ones, of course! – where old and obsolete electronical devices can be properly disposed. ZOL has partnered with a company in Dubai to make this happen in Zimbabwe, so be on the lookout for a place to put all those unwanted devices! Recycling is important in today’s world. As stewards of the environment, we are responsible for preserving and protecting our resources for ourselves and future generations and ZOL Zimbabwe has taken the initiative to lead in taking care of our environment for the sake of the next generation.
Denny’s passion to connect everyone has transformed the lives of many, in keeping with the Mission Statement; he also believes strongly in giving back to the community. Denny and ZOL put fibre in Warren Park and created low-cost packages for that area; ZOL also has a program to that supports education by providing free internet to a number of schools. ZOL is an Associate sponsor and Communications partner for the Zimbabwe Open Golf tournament, which is part of the Sunshine Tour. The ZOL Main Stage at HIFA, one of the biggest music and cultural shows in Africa, is testimony to ZOL’s support of music and culture in Zimbabwe.
ZOL’s partnership with Kwese TV makes Denny very excited, as he will be able to follow the Washington Wizards, the NBA team he supports. Kwese TV is growing by the day in popularity. Denny enthusiastically explained to us that now with the ZOLphone (VoIP) service, Kwese TV and Fibroniks, ZOL completes the three-play service offering he has strived to achieve, which is also in sync with the three categories from the Mission Statement, “…live, work and play.”
ZOL was the first ISP to launch a Mobile App in Zimbabwe, the “MyZol” App, and they are also the first to have 24/7/365 customer call centre with a live chat option. The highly popular ZOLspots provide Fibroniks on the go, and ZOL was nominated for an award at the annual AfricaCom Awards in 2016 and 2017 for this innovative technology. ZOL is also bringing a clever wireless router that can fit in your pocket, called MiFi, which will provide connectivity to many people including students who need to do their homework or research on the internet.
Denny Marandure is an inspiring role model in business. Despite his hectic schedule, board commitments, and an extensive travel schedule, Denny always puts his customers first. His tireless commitment and devotion to his company, its brand and its customer service results in happy and connected customers.