Big family, massive business empire: How Luke Masamvu left a legacy for his 12 wives and 79 kids

Late Cde Luke Masamvu

IT was a Monday afternoon, about four years ago, when Luke Masamvu entered an internet cafe in central Marondera to print a letter to be delivered at a school.

Later, he showed the letter to this reporter. In it, the politician was asking school authorities to give him a discount on fees since he had more than 10 children enrolled at that learning institution (name withheld).

“Ndamboisa mari yakawanda pachikoro apa, ngavambondipawo discount (I have paid large amounts in school fees at this school, I need a discount),” Masamvu said in his usual Manyika dialect.

Such was his life.

A former Zanu PF MP for Mutasa North in Manicaland province, he died from COVID-19 at the age of 62 in January, 2021.

In the farming town of Marondera, Masamvu owned a popular thriving supermarket.

He had similar businesses in Bindura and Rusape, among other towns.

But, he was also known as a Superdad.

An apostolic sect leader, at the time of his death, Masamvu had 12 wives and 79 children.

He lived with his family at his plush residence in Marondera’s low-density suburb of Winstone Park.

His businesses, however, are thriving, with operations now in the hands of his lieutenant and nephew Phebion.

NewsDay Weekender spoke with a family member who preferred to remain anonymous.

Masamvu’s wives

At his death, some of Masamvu’s wives were younger than some of his children.

Many thought they would leave following his demise.

However, the family member told NewsDay Weekender that all of his wives were still at the home he left behind for them, and have not remarried.

Masamvu’s younger children are all at boarding schools, a feat he proudly boasted of during his lifetime.

“The children are all going to good schools as before, and those in university are still there. There is no change at all. The family is still intact,” the family member said.

Religious beliefs versus business

Those left behind to manage Masamvu’s business empire have been honouring his religious beliefs.

The businesses are closed on Saturdays, a special day of prayer for the apostolic faith followers.

This is despite the fact that most people visit the central business district at weekends, especially Saturday, to stock up on groceries.

Notable changes

During his lifetime, in the Marondera supermarket, the tills were mainly manned by female workers from his Johanne Marange apostolic sect.

A visit by NewsDay Weekender this week revealed that young men, though from the same sect, have taken over the till points.

Today, things appear to be running smoothly as ever, except for the absence of Masamvu’s giant frame and boisterous laughter.

The fact that his rather large family has remained intact while the vast business empire he left behind is running like a Swiss clock speaks of the discipline and single-mindedness he exhibited in life.

Could he be leading from the grave? That is a question to be answered someday.

— NewsDay

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