Faith Mazani was born to a peasant farmer in Mhondoro as a last born in a big family of 15. “I grew up and was raised on proceeds from peasant farming, my father was a successful farmer; he managed to raise 15 children from farming.That gave me an opportunity, being the last to get education. I was the first graduate in the family but that doesn’t mean there was anything special about me”, she said in an interview with the Daily News in 2018.
She attended school in Mhondoro, Mubaira; then went to Tegwani for my secondary education. Growing up in a Methodist family, Faith Mazani went to a Methodist school and the proceeded to university. She studied Business Studies at the University of Zimbabwe and she was among the first graduates of the institution. “I was in my first year in 1980, I studied Business Studies”, she said.
Soon after university she joined the then department of taxes on January 3, 1983 as a tax administrator and served in tax administration since then. “I got a scholarship to study in Japan; a Masters in Economics, focusing on Public Policy and Taxation, this was in 1996. I came back from Japan and became one of the first revenue commissioners, when we brought the domestic and customs taxes together”, she said showing her initial stages in tax administration.
According to Mrs Faith Mazani she served in different regions and she is very passionate about serving the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority(ZIMRA). In 2007 she left ZIMRA because of the restructuring process that was taking place. “I became a ZIMRA pensioner after retirement in February 2007, I had to take early retirement because of the restructuring programme, said Faith.
After a stint of unemployment,Faith Mazani briefly worked for the Deloitte Institution, and then the South Africa Revenue Authority from November 2007 to 2010 as a senior manager. She left when the Swaziland Revenue Authority was being formed, to assist in formulating the authority but with the specific task of implementing the VAT in 2012.Faith Mazani played an instrumental role in the formation of the Swaziland Revenue Authority. “I was instrumental in the setting up of their modernised division, starting reforms to improve the operations of the authority”, she posited.
Faith Mazani said her involvement in the reforms exposed her to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who then recruited her in January 2014. “I then worked as the regional revenue administration advisor of the IMF, at the Regional Technical Assistance Centre, working in Ghana where I was based, Nigeria, Liberia, Gambia, Sierra Leon and the Cape Verde islands in West Africa.I worked with revenue administrations to improve their revenue mobilisation, and implementing reforms”, she described her work at IMF.
At the end of January 2018, Faith Mazani was recruited as the commissioner-general of ZIMRA. Surprisingly, she left her plush job at IMF to work for ZIMRA. Faith Mazani explained why she left IMF for ZIMRA saying, “I was working in West African countries to improve their economies and seeing where Zimbabwe was and what I could do because of the exposure I felt I had enough motivation to come and work for the country. I came knowing what I needed I to do. The positive outlook of the economy in the new dispensation gave me hope that what we wanted was achievable. What I was really afraid to come back to in Zimbabwe was corruption; but the message of the president is my biggest motivation, that of fighting corruption. A lot of revenue is lost due to corruption”, she said.
Despite her work commitments, Faith Mazani also has a social life. “I lost my first husband in 1991, we have a son, and he is now 32, married and working in South Africa. He studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT)”, she said. Faith Mazani added, “I built my career as a single woman; that was a very difficult time since my job at ZIMRA involved a lot of travelling within and outside the country. However, I was fortunate to find responsible helpers to take care of my son while I was away. I only had two in his childhood.When I left for Japan, he was only 10. Whenever I could, I made sure I would travel with him. In the two years while I was in Japan, I managed to bring him there twice for Christmas.I have been widowed twice; my second husband died in 2007 and left me with a stepson, It was painful but I guess certain things happen for a reason”.
Also, outside of work Faith Mazani likes encouraging children, developing them, giving hope. “I have been a Sunday school teacher, I like serving God; for me even in my job I ask for guidance from God. I enjoy helping others; that is what I like to do”, she said.
Faith Mazani advises women out there to work towards stopping this thing of talking about women as being looked down upon. “Opportunities are there for women if you are not selective. Anyone who has a passion for anything must go for it”, she said.
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