The year 2001 was one of the firm’s darkest hours. Originally held by a British investor under the name Lyons Africa Holdings, Lyons of Zambia and Zimbabwe were sister firms. In its heyday, Lyons was a major player in sub-Saharan Africa’s manufacturing industry. Due to controversial land distribution reforms in Zimbabwe, the investor decided to pull out and sold to a Zimbabwean firm. Lyons Orange juice had been a market leader in both countries, but the new owner decided to concentrate operations in Harare. The organization that had provided a lifeline to 148 families was forced to close its doors.
The Corporate Affairs Manager at the time, Chanda Musonda, was placed in charge of liquidating the assets. Musonda went about the task of selling the parts and pieces of a factory where he’d spent the last decade. Watching the machinery being carried away, Musonda realized that he was weeks away from being unemployed. He’d been unable to offload the centerpiece line of the aging equipment, as well as the building itself, and as he stood looking around the deserted factory floor, he realized he wasn’t ready to give up. Perhaps out of stubbornness, perhaps borne of a entrepreneurial fire he’d not known burned within him, Musonda decided to resurrect Lynx Zambia Limited, whatever the cost. It was a high price that was paid. Not to the owners, who unloaded the remaining assets for a song, but for Musonda himself. He sold his home and worked three jobs to be able to raise the capital required, and rebranded the organization under the name Lynx Zambia Limited, starting production in December 2002.
Musonda has rebuilt the business, and his guava juice has become a top seller. He’s driven by a desire to continue to support his twenty-six employees, as well as to contribute to the livelihoods of his countrymen. “I want to support our agricultural industry. I think I owe something to our people. They must have a market for their products, so I must continue.” And continue he has, recently investing in new equipment from South Africa in order to increase the firm’s capacity and efficiency.
Lynx Zambia Limited is open to joint venture partnerships, particularly for organizations eager to tap into the limitless potential of the Congo, the border for which is 150 kilometers away from Lynx Zambia’s premises. “Capital is a big, big factor,” Musonda explains. “You can have dreams, but to realize them you need money.” Potential partners can be assured that in Lynx Zambia Limited, they’ll not only find an experienced local firm, but a leader whose passion for his business is nearly as rich as their guava juice.