Hwange’s ‘Big Charlie,’ a gigantic man who stands just 41 centimeters shorter than the world’s tallest living human being has been reduced to a pale shadow of his former self as he battles chronic ailments.
‘Big Charlie’ as Charles Nyoni is affectionately known in the coal mining town of Hwange is 2.10 meters tall, weighing 288 kilogrammes and wears size 24 custom-made shoes.
For a man who used to perform eye-popping feats, single-handedly conquering dozens of men in tug of war games and lifting massive objects, taking a walk is now considered an achievement.
“I am now battling hypertension and sugar diabetes. I can barely move and work for myself with this big body. My shoes and clothes are custom made. I am appealing for business capital to start trading in kapenta. At least I can sell kapenta sitting on my door step,” said Nyoni.
Big Charlie’s friend Johna Ncube still remembers how the colossal giant used to be an attraction to international visitors in the resort town of Hwange.
“People liked to see this big man and before he retired from the colliery company, everyone never tired from staring at his gigantic figure. We miss seeing that big Father Christmas and his wonderful feats’” said Ncube.
Zimbabwe has a number of such titanic individuals like Big Charlie, Simbarashe Mhukahuru, and many others whose story is yet to be told in full for them to reap the rewards of their somewhat hidden talent.