WE FEATURE Delma Lupepe, one of Zimbabwe's successful businessman who has helped create employment and sustain the livelihood of fellow Zimbabweans.

He is one of the richest men in Zimbabwe and “he has seen it all and done it all”, but the now repentant and God fearing Delma Lupepe, revealed that he would rather have God than money because at the end of the day, all his riches are vanity.

In an exclusive interview with Lupepe who is a devoted Seventh Day Adventist revealed that his money never brought him peace and a comfortable life until he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior.

“I have money, not that I am boasting, I am only stating a fact and through my money I have seen and done it all, there is nothing you can tell me about life. There is nothing that I have not done but I am not proud of it. I have been all over the world, stayed at the most expensive hotels, some of the suits I have cost me 30 000 to 40 000 Rand. I have driven almost every version of the Mercedes Benz and almost every car. Right now I have two Porsche models, a Boxster and a 911 which if I am not mistaken is the only one in Zimbabwe, but its all nothing and it does not give me joy.

“And I have dated numerous beautiful women but I can tell you I never got any peace or satisfaction from that. I want people out there to know that all that glitters is not gold. It is better to live a humble and sinless life than to have riches that will lead you to death,” said Delma.

Lupepe, who is the owner of Maydeep Investments, which incorporates Merspin, Gloweave and Ascot Clothing Company, likened his life to that of the Biblical prodigal son who asked for his inheritance from his father and went away to a far-away country to squander it all.

“Just like the prodigal son, I was a youth with money and I used it wrongly. I was a slave to sin and like many youths of to day I believed that life was one big party but its more than that. So I am saddened by what the youth aspire to be. Frankly they should know that quality life is not in money, money does not bring any peace – peace comes from knowing God. All the other things are vanity, Solomon was one of the richest and best-dressed men but he admitted that the lilies on the ground were better than him.

“Don’t misunderstand me, God wants us to be prosperous and rich, he has plans for us, plans of prosperity not of harm. But we should know that riches come with responsibility, the prodigal son was irresponsible and I was irresponsible but I am glad that like him I found my senses.”

Delma believes that God gave him money not to buy cars and other worldly material but to use it as a vehicle to preach the gospel.

He said: “I used to hire a private jet from South Africa to come and pick me up for a shopping spree in Johannesburg. I had money but just like the prodigal son, my riotous spending meant I was eating with pigs. That was foolish, now that I am back in my father’s house. I use my money to spread the Advent message and to build churches. Not to buy worldly things, which are worthless at the end of the day.

“Whatever we do in life we must put God first. I thank God for knocking sense into my head before it was too late.”

Asked to reveal the event that led him to repent, Delma refused to divulge his life altering experience, but said: “I repented when I found myself in a situation that made me realise that God does exist.”

However, it is believed that one of the reasons why Delma sought God was an incident in which he escaped a kidnap and car-jacking attempt by a group of armed robbers in North End in 2002. He was also involved in a number of car accidents in which he believes that he was lucky to survive.

Delma added that God always had good plans for him that hinged on his repentance, revealing that one of the blessings he has received is his wife Abigail Lupepe who is a dentist.

“Some people are unfortunate that when they were wild, diseases such as AIDS and even death caught up with them. But God smiled on me even when I was still in the wilderness and he gave me a beautiful wife who I love dearly. A good wife comes from God and I encourage the youth to wait on the Lord and he will definitely send them the showers of blessings.”

He reiterated that God is always “looking for an excuse to do good things for us but we have to come back home for that to happen. If you want an education or employment it all belongs to you the secret is to accept God. And after accepting God you have to give him his tithe and offering. People think it’s a form of extortion but in reality it is a way of recognising that everything you get is from God. And if you are faithful with that he will look after you, at the end of the day tithe is only 10 percent of your earnings.”

Delma also took time to urge the youth to respect their parents and elders, unlike the prodigal son who disrespected his father by asking for his share of the inheritance before his father’s, because “failure to respect parents is a sign that you do not respect God.”

Lupepe is famous for his role in turning the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League (PSL) into a semi-professional league. He introduced incentives for Amazulu Football Club players such as monthly salaries, medical aid, bonuses, training and camping allowances at a time when most clubs just paid winning allowances or salaries based on the number of games played per month.