Shoppers Mourn Sam Levy

Sam Levy was a Jewish-Zimbabwe businessman, who built his property and retail business empire through sheer personal resourcefulness. Sam Levy Village is his most sought after shopping and business space named after him.

He died on Thursday at his Avondale home after battling cancer of the neck for three years. He was 82.

Many Zimbabweans would love to remember him for building the biggest shopping mall in the 1990s albeit in controversial circumstances.

One would remember how in 2005 his expansive project was spared the destruction from Operation Murambatsvina (Clean Up), which left 700 000 people without shelter according to the United Nations.

That incident was to earn him the infamous label of being a Zanu (PF) supporter who had his business saved from destruction because of his tacit association with President Robert Mugabe’s party.

On Thursday morning several shoppers dropped flowers on his Sam Levy Village office to pass their respects to the late businessman.

He will also be remembered for escaping with a Zimbabwean dollar $ 200 fine in October 2000 for importing 50 motorcycles inscribed “Police” without authority.

His son, Morris, described his father as a “people person.”

Businessman Philip Chiyangwa told the state owned Herald that Levy was his “personal mentor and a shrewd businessperson.”

A shopper at his Sam Levy Village shopping mall, Selby Chikwaka, told Radio VOP: “He is an example of how local business people should build their businesses and not grab other people’s businesses under the guise of empowerment.”

Levy earned himself the nickname “Cut-price king” for his supermarket chain. He also owned a fruit farm in Nyanga, cattle farm, several properties in Harare. He is survived by his wife Gloria and four children Julia, Isaacs, Morris and Raymond and seven grandchildren.