Rumbidzai Ngwenya Features Writer
Imagine a man so powerful he can pull a 6,5-tonne haulage truck with his mouth or shoulders?
A man who carries enough strength to replace oxen and pulls a plough with his bare hands until the whole field is cultivated.
As if the above traits are not enough, he claims that he is able to inflict a crack on a brick wall with his forehead.
The macho man in question is not a protagonist in a superhero movie, he is a member of the Zimbabwe National Army
Corporal Jonathan Muvingi (28) has earned himself the name “Mr Strongman’’ within the military circles due to his unusual physical strength.
Recently Corporal Muvingi made a breathtaking spectacle in front of the whole nation, pulling a haulage truck at the National Sports Stadium on Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day.
He left many wondering how a mortal can command such super-human strength.
“I go to the gym every day from 4am to 6am before leaving for work. Then I train from 8am to 12 noon before breaking for lunch, I then resume training from 5pm till late. So basically I spend most of my time at the gym lifting weights,” said Corporal Muvingi.
“Since I am a wrestler by profession, I have been training since 2007 but have recently just upped my game on heavyweight lifting. When training, I don’t lift anything less than 550 kilogrammes and for bench pressing I need from 370 to 400 kilogrammes.”
Without training he says he becomes agitated and lifting weights eases his tension.
“I am a bitter man without lifting heavy weights and pulling objects. At one point I hit and cracked the wall of my house with my forehead after spending days without training,” he said.
In the Bible, strongman Samson had restrictions which included not cutting his hair, Corporal Muvingi follows a strict regiment of rules to stay on top of his game.
Incredible is the quantity of food this man who weighs 108 kilogrammes consumes.
“My diet is very different, I don’t just eat healthy but plenty too. If I go visiting I am quite (expensive to cater for),” he chuckled.
For breakfast the strongman needs two loaves of bread, half a dozen eggs, one each litre of milk and juice, sausages, bacon and butter.
He needs a kilogramme of meat and two full pots of sadza for his lunch to be “filling”.
“These are the conservative amounts that I eat but usually after hard work at the gym I need more,” the macho man said.
So basically he eats food worth about $25 or even more per day.
He also prefers beans because of their high protein content and traditional foods such as finger millet.
His prowess does not come cheap, his huge appetite reflects of his dietary budget.
“For now I am struggling to buy the required food because it’s costly. Although the ZNA is trying by all means to support me, I still face a few challenges. If I could have sponsorship then I could do my best.”
Unlike the biblical Samson who was betrayed by his lover, Delilah, who ordered a servant to cut his hair while he was sleeping and ruined the source of his strength, Muvingi has a supportive wife who has built him to become the strongman he is today.
She enjoys the power her husband possesses, and cooks for him.
“My wife is supportive though at first she didn’t take me seriously. I think not all women would want to live with a man who eats as much as I do, but she is exceptional. She tries to ensure that I have my meals on time.
“She is not scared of me, she understands that I am not a violent person. I use my power to pull heavy objects not hitting people or my wife. Although I am this powerful I respect my wife and we solve our problems by talking not fighting,” he said.
Corporal Muvingi dreams of bringing the World’s Strongest Man title to Zimbabwe and with enough support, he believes he can.
“My power is generated more in my mind than my body because if my mind tells me that I am powerful to do something, I can do it. So I want to be the next World’s Strongest Man. I just need more training and enough food, that means the correct (training) equipment and more food.
“For me to go ahead I need sponsorship so that I can afford enough food, gym equipment, training kit such as ankle guards and belts to protect my backbone as well as enough money to go for competitions,” he said.
In the meantime the owners of the gym he uses when at home are complaining as they are not equipped to accommodate his kind of strength and he usually breaks the equipment.
Even Captain Peter Kwarare, Sports 2IC at ZNA, could at first not believe Corporal Muvingi’s power but he has come to see the Samson in Muvingi.
“Muvingi is supernaturally talented. If supported he could go far and represent Zimbabwe in international competitions.
“When I first came to the Army School of Sports I was told about him and didn’t believe it until I asked him to pick me up and he lifted me like a baby. I was shocked. As you can see, I am a big man,” chuckled Captain Kwarare.
“After that realisation I never stopped trying to help him especially by getting him the exposure he needs. With support this man can redefine the word ‘power’,” he said
Today Corporal Muvingi is inspiring others in the army who also want to be like him. Slowly he is becoming a role model and maybe soon the face of power.
Born in a family of eight, he is the only one who boasts this rare talent.
Growing up he used to do all the heavy work at home in Chiredzi.
He didn’t know it was a talent, nobody knew, until last year in February at a wrestling tournament at the Harare Gardens. There he tested his ability by pulling a kombi and succeeded. He proclaimed in front of the audience that he needed a truck and after he managed to pull it, he has never stopped training.
He claims what he does is not juju but simply a talent augmented by hard work.
At the upcoming Harare Agricultural Show, Corporal Muvingi says he is going to flex his muscles and showcase the Samson in him and that he is not called “Mr Strongman” for nothing.