Turning Ideas Into Reality: The Joina City Story

God is the greatest architect who created each person as a masterpiece to manifest wonder and glory – Lovemore Nyatsine

There is a building in Zimbabwe which took more than 13 years to build. This building called Joina City (formerly Joina Centre) stands as a symbol of the perseverance and persistence of the Zimbabwean people. It also tells the story of Zimbabwe’s decline and sure recovery. When construction of this building started in 1997 Zimbabwe was full of hope, recording double digit economic growth, creating jobs and experiencing peace and prosperity.  At the time the first brick was laid in 1997, the Zimbabwe dollar was strong and stable until November 14 1997 when the Zim dollar crashed against major currencies. The concept and architectural design was developed by the late Vernon Mwamuka, who is easily one of the finest architects of his generation.

As the building opened last week on 26 March 2010, I was prompted in my heart to unpack some life insights and would like to share these with you. There are some simple truths which can you turn your ideas, into plans, and plans into reality.

Turn Your Ideas into A Plan

The idea to have Joina City started after Zimbabwean businessman Shingai Mutasa was inspired while on a visit to the USA to build a commercial centre in Zimbabwe. He shared this idea with his friend, architect Vernon Mwamuka . Vernon caught the vision and conceptualised the design leading to the full architectural design followed by a business plan for Joina City.

The key insight is that never miss a moment of inspiration to come up with ideas. Do not dismiss your ideas as wild. Share with a friend, colleague, brother or sister. There are people in your life who will catch your vision and passion and help give structure and form to your ideas. That person for Shingai was Vernon. However your ideas will never come alive if you don’t take the next step of sharing what you SEE, FEEL, HEAR, SMELL, IMAGINE about the idea. Your senses are the most powerful conduit for the manifestation of your ideas. Your ideas must have a body language, and soon the world will dance to the rhythm of your idea.

Declare the End From The Beginning

Like God, who declares the end from the beginning, you can also determine the end state of your life, by how you plan today. An architectural plan or a life plan is a declaration of the end from the beginning. I had an opportunity to see the Joina City architectural design and model. The model was so real, I knew one day this building would be a reality too. The architectural drawings had specific dimensions, height, width, aesthetics and ergonomics. Nothing was left to imagination or the creative ingenuity of the construction company. Nay. The architect loaded all his creative genius upfront. The construction company had a simple brief to build according to the architectural specifications.

The key insight is that when you plan your goals never leave any detail to chance or to other people’s imagination. You can front-end load your dreams by being very specific – set specific targets and achievement life milestones for yourself. Do not be wishy washy with what you want to achieve. You only have got one life, and there is no opportunity to rehearse. Life is not a trial and error or hit and miss affair. You need to be precise through the kind of that goals you set.

Perseverance and Persistence

Joina City construction stuttered, staggered, fainted but stayed the course. The bulk of the building costs were foreign currency denominated, and those of you who have lived in a hyperinflationary environment know that building in that environment is no fun. The challenges were many – lack of engineering skills, funding, resources and country risk profile. Persistence and perseverance carried the day. It is the power to hold on in spite of everything, the power to endure, the ability to face defeat again and again and not give up. The end goal keeps the dream alive

The key insight is that like an architectural plan, your life purpose is a plan. The building that you will create with that purpose is a function of the goals you set. The winds and the waves of opposition, oppression, repression, suppression and depression will come, but if you are holding on to your life purpose (architectural drawings) you will achieve your dream building (life). Today I want to pray a prayer for you – may your every idea come to life. May you experience resurrection power on your stuttering dreams, and a new energy and will to finish, and finish strong. That you be inspired with ideas that will change the skyline of your country and the course of your generation. May you live to create monuments of success and centres of excellence in whatever you do. So shall it be!

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