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Sam Levy Zimbabwe businessman

Samuel Rahamin “Sam” Levy (1929–2012) was a Zimbabwean businessman and property developer best known for his construction of the Sam Levy’s Village shopping mall in Borrowdale, a suburb of Harare, in 1990. A self-made millionaire, at the time of his death he was reputed to be one of the richest people in Zimbabwe. From a Jewish family, Levy was born in Que Que, Southern Rhodesia, on 9 October 1929, and educated at Prince Edward School in Salisbury (as Harare was called until 1982). He founded and chaired Macey’s Stores Limited, a large supermarket group, in the 1960s. In September 1973 he purchased Duly’s car showroom on Angwa Street, Salisbury, for US$1.5 million. He converted the site into a department store and later a shopping centre, the Ximex Mall, which he sold to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) in the late 1990s. He successfully stood in the Salisbury council elections in 1975, and served as a councillor for Ward 8, comprising the city’s southern district of Waterfalls, until 1979. According to a 2014 retrospective on his life published by the Herald newspaper, he “was never short of controversy”. He reportedly built Sam Levy’s Village without municipal permission and only regularised the complex when authorities threatened to demolish it. In 2000, 50 motorbikes marked “police” were discovered at Levy’s farm near Harare, but he was fined only Z$200. The bikes’ purpose and ultimate fate was never made clear to the public. Sam Levy’s Village was designed in such a way that it has since been dubbed a “Little England”. It includes buildings resembling English cottages and a clock tower similar to Big Ben, and originally issued its security guards with uniforms similar to those of British “bobbies”. For many years it lacked public toilet facilities; lavatories were eventually installed, but as of 2014 shoppers have to pay to use them. Levy died from cancer at his home in the Harare suburb of Avondale on 5 June 2012. He was survived by his wife, four children, Julia, Isaac, Maurice and Raymond, and seven grandchildren, and buried at Warren Hills Jewish Cemetery in Harare. The Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru, expressed sincere condolences to the family having been a dear friend. There was a strong friendship between Sam and her late husband, General Solomon Mujuru. Sam assisted the General when he was involved in a helicopter crash and broke his vertebrae when he was still in the army. Media, Information and Publicity Minister, Webster Shamu, described Levy as a “hardworking and shrewd businessman”. Later that year he was posthumously honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Victor Night Awards and recognised by the UN’s EMPRETEC programme as one of the most influential Zimbabwean entrepreneurs since 1980. His eldest son, Isaac, took over the family’s business operations.

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