Friday, February 23, 2024

Tom Mtine celebrates his 96th birthday with call on youths to be humble


Zambia’s earliest known millionaire Tom Mtine has celebrated his 96th birthday at his home in Ndola with call on youths to be humble.

Alderman Mtine, who used to manage 53 local companies in the 1950s as chairman of the Lonrho Group, on Friday turned 96.

Speaking when a group of journalists from the Ndola Press Association visited him, Mr. Mtine said perseverance, sacrifice and humility have helped him in life.

He also spoke against pomposity when asked about the secrets of longevity.

“To do anything good you have to persevere. And persevering is not a joke. When you persevere you meet a lot of people and there you have to go forward,” Mr. Mtine spoke with a smile.

Mr Mtine now leads a quiet life at his home in Northrise, Ndola.

“In our language we say, uzicepesa osati matukutuku ntawi zonse,” he said.

“Look, life we have got to realise that we have got to look at ourselves. Stop this stop that. Stop drinking; the door will open for you. Now, having sacrificed a lot of things, you go forward,” Mr. Mtine said.

Mr Mtine as a youth worked for the government before moving into the private sector and later on rising to manage a group of companies.

After completing school and obtaining a Cambridge certificate, Mr. Mtine and other young trainees at the time, learnt bookkeeping besides learning how to manage co-operative societies in Lusaka.

After managing cooperatives in Lusaka among them Chalimbana Teachers Training College he got a transfer to Ndola at the sunrise of the 1950s.

He used to operate in Ndola, Kitwe, Chingola, Luanshya and Mufulira.

Upon leaving the public sector, Mr. Mtine joined the Ndola Bazaar Limited where he was employed as a bookkeeper.

He later moved to another company and with his background of accounting and salesmanship which meant travelling a lot; Mr. Mtine landed a post at Heinrich Syndicate as a public relations officer.

While at Heinrich Syndicate, Mr Mtine was among the staff that moved to Lonrho Group after its acquisition and as luck could be, at the new company that bought off Heinrich Syndicate, he earned himself an executive position.

He was first managing director at Lonrho and thereafter he became chairman as he was in charge of many companies within the Lonrho Group.

Mr. Mtine was also the first chairman of Zambia Airways, first black mayor of Ndola around 1965-66 and the first black African to run the Football Association of Zambia after independence.

In the past, Mr Mtine has been recalling the time he was special envoy of then President Kenneth Kaunda to South Africa where he went to deliver a classified letter in a secret way for the release of incarcerated freedom fighter Nelson Mandela in the 1980s.

“It was not easy, it was a risk. I had to put that letter at the back of my head to pass through Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was more frightening than South Africa. The letter was folded, placed in the collar at the back of my shirt and it was to be handed to state security officers in South Africa,” he told the Zambia Daily-mail in the 2016 interview.

Mr Mtine is an honorary member of the Confederation of African Football.

He was awarded by FIFA during the global football governing body at the centenary celebration in 2004 for his contribution to the sport in Zambia.


  1. Happy Birthday Ba Mtine. Let’s make the Century. Ndola is proud of you. Any chance of an autobiography in the horizon??

  2. Alderman Thomas Dickson Madandaulo Mtine has led a humble but illustrious life. He’s a man that resisted joining politics despite pressure from many circles. Happy birthday young old man!

  3. During his reign has FAZ Chair, we never won anything but the administration and the football we played were by far better than what we see today.


  5. That is my guy. Noti ivi vi kawalala vikuti they get a position as Minister basi ni ma billionaire on nothing. Happy 96th Alderman! We wish you many more years ahead! Thank you for your invaluable service.

  6. As an elder, he has said a lot of sensible things but forgot to appreciate alcohol consumers for his rise in the corporate world! Heinrich Syndicate, the creators of chibuku and the large following they command even today is what catapulted bwana Tom to a prosperous life.

    That said, I would still love to learn about Tom’s beginnings from birth, his siblings, spouse(s) and so on and perhaps what he would like to do with his wealth that he now needs very little of …

  7. This is a man with a lot of knowledge about Zambia and about life. Some of us long to know the history of Zambia. He had a front seat to the economic collapse of Zambia. The flight of companies from Ndola, Kitwe that has reduced those cities to what they are today as well as the rest of the country. What happened? Somebody please approach this man to write, not a book, but books. He’s keeping a lot of knowledge.

  8. I am looking for the grand daughter – Hastings Mtine’s daughter who was in the UK in 2002, very lovely girl. Just post the name and I will do the rest.

  9. This man is tresure of knowledge I used to hear about him even when I was a child…if only the likes of small boy Munir yielded his advise but alias these are who are just could big money through PF contracts now they can insult others because they have learned how to swing a golf club make matters worse the people in his docile village have put him in Parliament. I can only imagine if Iris won that Parliamentary seat.

  10. For the uninitiated, Lonrho stood for London Rhodesia. I think the company was once led by one Tiny Rowland a controversial Brit?
    Wasn’t Tom Mtine also Chairman of Rothmans? Mr Mtine was a formidable business man!

  11. It is him (Mtine) who is pompous! I have seen his nephews and nieces walking barefooted on the Copperbelt, whilst he was flying around the world. He is a stingy, selfish man. Don’t ague, I know him very well. He has the same language as the late Titus Chiluba. So those queuing up to heap praises know very little about him.

  12. The legend and History makers!
    May your gift of entrepreneurship be reborn in our young generation today.
    Hope someone is writing a book on this man’s knowledge and experience.

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