More information revealed on the Nhava Scandal

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Tinashe ShangwaOn the first day of this month, a local daily NewsDay called out Nhava Global for duping Zimbabweans into thinking they design and manufacture netbooks. We posted our thoughts on what is now officially the Nhava scandal.  Today, the NewsDay published a follow-up on the article titled “Nhava Global saga rages on“.

To encourage some discussion on the issue just so we can what Techzim readers think about we repost the article here with the permission of the authors.

The Nhava Global offices sheltered at Eastgate in Harare are not anything like Steve Jobs’ Apple offices in the United States of America.

The offices do not in any way resemble a hardware/software manufacturing company that it is supposed to be. It looks more like a simple retail shop. And that is what it is.

NewsDay visited Tinashe Shangwa, the chairman of the company, for a discussion in his office on what he claimed were “misleading facts” in an exclusive article published by NewsDay on how Nhava Global had the media and even the Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru as well as Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa supporting their initiative.

In the chairman’s office there is a shelf with a few folders, one marked Nhava Customers and three desks. One of the desks has fliers of Nhava products and software discs (adobe and Windows 7) whose covers are written in Chinese and English.

A soft spoken but eloquent Shangwa navigates from his chair in the crammed office to greet me but not before he reminds me: “So you are the one who wrote that scathing article. Feel comfortable we will set the record straight.”

He begins to talk: “We do design the laptops we sell. We do not manufacture them here but we are heavily involved in the designing, but I will call John Shangwa, the chief executive officer who does most of the designs to talk to you more on that.”

An inside source had beforehand described John, the younger brother to Tinashe as the “young man who told anyone who cared to listen that he had gone for a five-year internship in China where he learnt to design computer hardware”.

“We used to advise partners that he was the czar of design and that he had gone for this training and that internship. We never knew for sure if ever he did but it worked. We always had the credibility,” said our source.

Tinashe had confirmed that indeed John had gone for the five years to a manufacturing and design school in China.

“Who told you that?” John asks to which I confirm to him that his brother had said so and only then does he thoughtfully recall but he reduces the years to three.

“Well, I was on internship in China for three years since 2005 to 2007. I used to go and come back. I was with Best Power Limited in Shenzhen,” John says.

NewsDay then requested to see his paper work. “All the papers are at home and we will scan them for you and give you in a day.”

Morgen Mutsau, the vice-president of Venum Inc, a purportedly technical division of Nhava Global who was part of the interview promised to bring the certification of the internship. That never happened, and a day later he had somersaulted on the issue.

“We have decided not to give you the certificates or any documentation you asked for. We will take another route,” Mutsau said.

Google search could not locate the Chinese company, Best Power Limited or John Shangwa’s association with it.

Questioned on the Windows Microsoft software they use, John said: “It is genuine and we always supply the genuine stuff.”

However, NewsDay established that an employee of Nhava Global provided a pirated version of Windows 7. This was confirmed through one of the victims, Tinashe Sakuchera whose computer now notifies him that he is using a pirated version.

NewsDay has the folder containing what is known as a patch in geek-speak.

“As for Windows XP it is free for download, so anyone can use it,” claimed John. This is wrong, given that Windows XP is still commercial and not open-source software.

An IT expert clarified: “Windows improved their security against software pirates in their Windows 7 operating system. With Windows XP you could easily obtain a trial version and put a “patch” on it, after the patch it would operate like licensed software, without any glitches. However Win7 is a bit more complex, the moment you try to obtain updates via the internet may be the end of your pirated copy.”

Despite insistence on being a company that makes its own designs, a persistent request to be shown some of the designs drew blanks as the trio of Tinashe, John and Mutsau all insisted the designs were copyrighted and could be leaked to competitors.

NewsDay traced the source of one of their models. We can reveal that the Nhava J7380 that also carries the Laser One label and is selling for $550 locally, is a product manufactured by Shenzhen Hongda Technology Co (Ltd) and is sold everywhere in the world.

The Laser One is regarded as a clone of Acer laptops and the original price in China is $230. “We gave all these laptops those names. Like Laser One and all. Those are our names,” Tinashe and John had chorused in the interview.

NewsDay can also reveal that the Nhava Mist laptop is manufactured by YZ Digital International Limited.

It is sold unbranded and allows companies like Nhava to brand as they wish. Its asking price is $230 and Nhava sells it for $450 with a one year warranty.

A fact Sakuchera expressed amusement over was that his battery can no longer work after three months of use.

When NewsDay left the offices, the chairman, the CEO and the Vice President of Venum Inc closed the door supposedly to discuss a new strategy and the reception we had got before the interview was lost in the mist.

The Nhava Global saga is far from over.



  1. Tafmak3000

    The hole gets dug deeper! Nhava should close down, re-brand (pan-intended) and try again as perhaps where you can order a laptop and get it with a brand of your own. You could make it the Jonso Book Pro or a Tindo-Comp
    or maybe the Kabweza Maestro 6000 at least that way we will know what we are paying for.

    1. Nhava Izere Mhepo

      “pun-intended”……glaring typo

      1. Tafmak3000

        P-U-N thats it!!!

  2. Davod

    they linked with the gvt just to make money its amazing they still running

  3. Ocybergateway

    is this an example of of indeginisation, what this nhava guys did is really immoral and disgusting. my sister friend bought a nhava laptop whilst she opted for a dell secondhand laptop, three months the line the nhava has degenerated into a lots of hardware problems whilst my sisters is still kicking. its really bad that the nhava people fleeced civil servants who are really underpaid with an inferior product. It seems to me these people dont. these people should not lie that they design computers, a computer is not designed with one person but its a team effort and its really disgusting to hear people go away with such kind of lies.

  4. Traxx

    If I.T was done in such a way as done in the Nhava company, then at this stage I guess we wouldnt be having computers at all…..these guys are fake n must be arrested for all sorts of crimes such as software piracy, etc…to hell with pple who make our career industry a bad one….

  5. Hon Ngole

    Nhava the closing notebook! Their time is up and exit is whats next. Zvaramba boys rangu try something else and I hope you have learnt a lesson, please payback for all orders not supplied.

    Look at G-Tide they simply said they are distributing. They say in their warranty if the device dose not work properly they will give you a new one.

    Mazita enyu takuwaziva just hope hamuna kutipa ekunyeba futi.

  6. @Technologist

    So can we trust our leaders to lead us when they can be duped like this? VP and Chamisa inoita here iyi?

    1. tinman

      our leaders are not entirely to blame. its not only that they are not familiar with ICT but they dont know that they dont know. so it is up to us and to ensure that the leaders are educated or at least make informed decision under good advice. why not use the computer society, COMSA to perform due diligence before endorsing products or companies.

      the Nhava saga is as good as it is bad. there are many unmentionable words to describe how bad they are…justifiably so. the good side of it is that people are now aware and leaders have faced enough embarrassment to learn valuable lessons.

      If not trusting “outsiders” they should employ advisors.

      1. serg11

        well said tinman…quite frankly i think any minister appointed to a position of authority shud be put thru all necessary training to equip them with the requisite knowledge to manage their sector.. kumwe kuvharwa kunodhina akomana…Kana ndiwewo Chamisa,iyi haiite! and to stand there oblivious to the fact that u are being duped….musadaro gen’a

  7. Tafmak3000

    Looking on the bright side this has been a an important lesson for everyone i guess. Consumers, the Gov, investors and future companies may learn from this. The Nhava guys also deserve credit I think, for trying (however terribly and it seems dishonestly) but trying none the less! Before Nhava I don’t know if any young Zimbabwean was thinking along those lines. Speaking for my self I was inspired and of-cause later disappointed!

  8. Tafmak3000

    Looking on the bright side this has been a an important lesson for everyone i guess. Consumers, the Gov, investors and future companies may learn from this. The Nhava guys also deserve credit I think, for trying (however terribly and it seems dishonestly) but trying none the less! Before Nhava I don’t know if any young Zimbabwean was thinking along those lines. Speaking for my self I was inspired and of-cause later disappointed!

  9. Tendaimupaso

    To be honest i think knocking these guys down is not fair. Entrepreneurs should be supported not discouraged. Ok, their machines are flawed and they may have misled the nation, but in my opinion, realizing an opportunity and taking the initiative to act on it should be celebrated – especially if its young people.

  10. Nerudo Curtis Mregi

    LOL I told them they would be dying soon they thought I was a hater now you see. Im not the ordinary critique Im known as nerd in this industry Im a co critique at media 24 the guys that bring you PCformat would I hate on such pitty coat business people

    1. Joe Black

      If you worked for Media24 you’d be able to spell.

      1. ngth

        If he worked for Media24 it might also appear on his Facebook profile (which he himself has linked to). For someone who is “know as a nerd in this industry” you certainly seem to lack any credibility on your profile, and are not linked to any of the big players. But then that is just a Facebook profile so who knows… Maybe he is just trying to keep a low key there, from his comments doesn’t seem like the boastful type to me.

        He was right about Nhava though, interesting to see where they go from here. After all the bad press I would take the profits and run… future does not look bright for these guys, future entrepreneurs should learn from their story.

  11. Lingani

    This was a good initiative at the beggining and the guys should be commended for realising an opportunity and taking action to feel the gap in the market, they also had a very good marketing strategy that got everyone engaged and interested.

    However the one lesson that i hope they have learnt from all this is that, good businesses are build on honesty, without honesty your bubble will bust sonner or later, a lesson to all startup tech entreneurs is that we should have values guys and those values should not just be rhetoric that is printed on brochures but should be followed and be our guiding beacon in business.

    Lying can take you to the top but it definitely wont keep you there, so honesty should be one of the values of every business. I guess everyone has learned something from this scandal.

  12. Gurudevprojects

    Guys dzangu. Nhava i know it from childhood.I know the guys personally. They are Tsotsi’s. Later today or may the TechZim contact me and i will give you an article of these guys in the Gurdian the SA press. They have coned people and are on the Run. That’s why they came back home. my email is

  13. Joe Black

    “Nhava izere mhepo …” – Oliver Mtukudzi

  14. Biggyman

    I am shocked that you guys do not know about the other guys as well ZIVO Technologies are the other ones with similar laptops like NHAVA. There are situated in Avondale shops next to the Barclays Bank. Techzim please investigate these guys and expose this scam as well as they claim to manufacture laptops in Zimbabwe. They sold me a laptop which only lasted three months and i had trouble getting it fixed by them. Vakomana matsotsi azere muno!!!!!!

  15. Gorge W Bush

    Nhava and Zivo should close thats ‘dull boy’ indeginisation. Zimbabwe society loves the new ICT initiative of empowering people with Technology…… but please becareful of these Monkeys Tinashe, adlai and Tawanda. TechZim please investigate they should be in jail ryt now as we speak, why should we keep a national liars and a thieves on the Office. Remember in China there is no copyryt law so designers copy the designs of genuine Hp and Dell motherboards Manufactured in Hp and Dell Factories in China and re-manufacture them in their small labs but the quality is compromised ….check this go on Hp Website and check on specs of the motherboard of the Hp Little Wonder mini laptop eg. Intel atom 1.6Ghz Processor N420, N450 motherboards…… going on and on these are same designs you find on a Branded Nhava ,Zivo Machine but re-manufactured by copycats since in China theriz no Copyryt law. So the Nhava, Zivo guys they do not design and manufacture but Simply buy and Re-brand and sell in a disadvantaged society in terms of technological knowledge.

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