Celebrating The Life Of Crispen Chamunorwa Masuka
By Joel Masuka | An official photographer at Bob Marley’s 1980 independence gig, Crispen Masuka passed away on 8th September 2020, in Exton, Pennsylvania, USA, after battling prostate cancer for a very long time. He is survived by his wife Irene, and their 4 children, Taurai, Gregory, Simbirai and Chipo, as well as 4 grand children.
Crispen Masuka was born on 25th October 1948 in Chounda Village of Seke Communal Lands, in a family of 8 children, with him being the second born, of Ronika and Amos Chamunorwa Masuka.
For his primary education, Crispen attended Dzumbunu in Seke and George Stark Primary School in Mbare (then National). As his parents could not afford to enrol him into the formal Secondary education system, he had to work, as well as self-study and to complete his Secondary education, that is, GCE “O” Level by correspondence, using the Rapid Results College lectures.
By the age of 17, Crispen Masuka’s father had helped him to secure his first, general labourer job at Export Leaf Tobacco, where he also worked.
Crispen, right from the early stages of his life had seen the value of Education and had visualised where he wanted education to take him and his siblings. It was this self-driven vision which led Crispen to shoulder the mammoth task of educating all his 3 brothers and 4 sisters, Jane, Ngoni, Joel, Ellen, Sellina, Elizabeth and Thomas.
In 1970 Crispen’s uncle, Annanias Mavimira, who worked for the then Sports Pools, helped Crispen to secure the job as a clerk, where he worked for 1 year. It was Crispen’s father who, in 1971, helped him to get a job with the then Salisbury City Councils’s recreational services, as a Youth Services Official headed by a Mr Roberts. Mr Roberts, whose offices were based at the Stodart Hall in Mbare, was the Youth and Recreational Services Director. Mr Roberts had worked with Amos Masuka in the British Army during the Second World war, up to 1945 when they were both demobilised.
During his work career in the youth Services of the City Council, Crispen was based at Chinembiri Youth Center, together with his workmates, Teacher Martin Mangodza and another Teacher (Firstname unknown), Gorden. Crispen and his team mates’ job, among many other things, involved training youths in various sports and recreational activities as well as providing guidance and counselling services.
These 3 Legends contributed immensely to the development of all Mbare youth and to help them avoid criminal activities and groups. Teacher Masuka, Teacher Martin Mangodza and Teacher Gorden massively helped Mbare youths by grooming, moulding and motivating them to be responsible leaders, citizens and stars which they later became, in their future life spheres of sports, community and professional fields.
The following is just but a shortlist of people, individuals and professionals who were mentored and went through the hands of Crispen and his co-workers during the time he worked as a City Council Youth Official:
Chinembiri and Stodart Youth Clubs In Mbare (then National):
Stix Stanley Mtizwa, Shaw Handriade,Peter Handriade, Mufakose Area E Youth Club:
Joel Shambo, Stanley Chirambadare, Leon Ndunduma,Stanley Ndunduma,Stanley Chirambadare,Craft Makuvatsine,Archiford Chimutanda
While working in Mufakose at Area E Youth club 1974 to 1978 Crispen continued to work tirelessly with the youth even during some of his off days on Saturdays and Sundays, it was his passion. He again groomed youths in soccer, loan tennis, table tennis music and other recreational activities. Crispen was also heavily involved in talent identification and would accordingly advise the youth on their future potential areas of expertise.
Crispen was highly instrumental in the formation of one of Zimbabwe’s once popular musical bands, the Bhundu Boys. After having identified the potential of these young men Crispen went out of his way to convince the City Youth Services Authorities to buy the Area E Youth Club some musical instruments with which these guys could practice and deepen their knowledge in music. These boys would come to Mufakose Area E Club daily, to practise playing music. Once they had become experts at playing music, Crispen advised them to look for places where they could be engaged as a group of musicians. They eventually secured a place at a night club in Chitungwiza. It was at this music bar/club where, one day a British tourist was impressed with their musical performances and ended up organising their trip to London, this is where their journey to stardom began, the rest is history.
Crispen Masuka’s other passion was photography, during his time with the City Council Crispen privately pursued his passion, studied and graduated with a Diploma from Harare Polytech as a Professional Photographer. He also sharpened his Photography skills through Mr Bester Kanyama and Mick Micho. Mr Bester Kanyama owned Bester Kanyama Studios in Highfield. Mr Bester Kanyama was Zimbabwe’s renowned professional photographer.
In 1980, during Zimbabwe’s Celebration for Independence, Crispen Masuka was one of the official photographers. Mr Masuka took one photo with the Reggae legend, which later became very popular on the Foto-Wizard Calendars.
See below, the remains of that picture:
During his photography business career, Mr Masuka also became an official Photographer for Mai Sally Mugabe’s portraits and had the opportunity to take some of the best late first lady’s portraits.
From 1979 to 1981, Crispen Masuka also worked as a City Council Librarian, on rotating shifts, in Mufakose, Mbare, Highfield and Mabvuku Libraries.
He finally retired from Harare City Council in 1981 and took up his Photography business, on a full-time basis. His business was known as Foto-Wizard, this is where he jointly worked tirelessly with his beloved wife, Irene Masuka. The main business was situated and Ottawa House, close to the charge Office Police Station, in addition, he also operated some satellite studios in Greater Harare. He also operated a Car parts distribution business, Ntusima Agencies, which operated concurrently with Foto-Wizard.
In 1985, Mr Masuka decided to undergo pastoral studies at Apostolic Faith Mission in South Africa. After Mr Masuka left South Africa, He migrated over to the USA to join his wife. In USA he underwent and graduated with a BA Degree in Sociology / Psychology from Immaculata University in Pennyslyvania.
On November 2010 Mr Masuka together with 2 other Zimbabweans established the first prayer line Church, Church without Borders. Today the Church without Walls. Today the Church without Walls has stretched its tentacles to almost all the US States and some Provinces in Canada. The rest is a story which may be told by the members of the Church Without Walls.
Throughout his life Mr Masuka has touched thousands of peoples life, be it as a youth councillor or as the Pastor of the Church. His love for God, for the people in general was the perennial force which kept his internal energy burning to do more for both the Lord and the people.