By Veronica Gwaze
Fifteen years later, New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) clergy and marriage officer Pastor Foster Masocha still remembers the January 27 horror crash that changed his life.
A road traffic accident that saw the vehicle they were traveling in crash into a stationary lorry at the 52 kilometre peg along the Harare-Marondera highway claimed three of his five children and his nephew.
Masocha’s sons John (27) and Roy (21) as well as daughter Caroline (23) and nephew Masimba (18) are all buried at Norton Cemetery.
Pastor Masocha remembers the night he spent waiting for them to arrive home from Mutare.
“I remember the last call I got from Caroline around eight that night. She was telling me that they had just left Marondera and that they would be home in about two hours.
“They were coming from Mutare, Africa University, were Caroline and Roy had just secured places to study Accounting degrees. We were all very excited. “My wife Ronah and I decided to wait for them and celebrate,” he narrated.
But they waited in vain until the following morning. The quartet did not come home and was no longer communicating.
That morning, Pastor Masocha’s drive to work was the longest. He had so many unanswered questions.
And then his wife called, asking him to return home.
“I returned home because I thought they had finally arrived and needed us to celebrate because back then, admission into a tertiary education institution was a big deal.
“But upon my arrival, some policemen broke the sad news of their death to me. I did not believe what they were telling me so I called my wife who was inside the house and told her. She could not believe it too.
“I demanded to see the bodies,” Pastor Masocha said.
He was shattered when he finally saw the dead bodies of his children at Parirenyatwa Mortuary.
At that moment, the clergyman recalls that he felt his world crumbling around him.
“When I returned home, the yard was already full of people who had come to support us. Seeing the compound packed like that tore me further apart,” said the Chiweshe born pastor.
“I used to worship under Pentecostal Holiness Church before moving to NCMI in 2004. The church adhered to the fundamentals of pentecostalism. It felt good and I was very comfortable.
“Within the church, I had risen through the ranks to become an ordained pastor, marriage officer and an overseer for Mashonland West.
“But the accident changed everything and I could not enjoy church anymore. Everything they did there would remind me of my children, the songs reminded me of the gatherings as we mourned them,” said Pastor Masocha.
The 65-year-old pastor said he could not attend some church gatherings and weddings as they also invoked painful memories.
But with congregants looking up to him, sometimes he had to defy his emotions and preach through the pain. Underneath the tough pastor’s hat was a torn apart human being.
Despite what he was going through personally, he also had to watch his wife struggling with her emotions. He had to be her pillar of strength.
To make matters worse, there were rumors that he had used juju to cause the death of his children. Members from his former church still believe he left because of that.
“You know people talk. I watched Ronah going through double pain – she had to deal with the loss of our children as well as what people were saying behind our backs.
“Painful as it was, I had to step up and be the protective husband. I had to separate her from the outside world.
“Together, we had to deal with the pain. We started taking counselling sessions. We had our children’s photos everywhere in the house. We reflected so much on the good old times until we both accepted that indeed, they had gone,” he said.
The man of cloth revealed that at one time, he felt like deserting Christianity.
But as he contemplated on that, the biblical scripture of Job flashed in his mind. Since then, that scripture has became his favorite.
“Since that day, the biblical chapter of Job became my favorite. I have recited it countless times. Music also helped me heal, I would sing my heart out and vent my emotions.
“When Caroline died, she already had a daughter – Natasha Mudekwa – who is now at Rhodes University. She is doing very well. When I look at her, I see her mother. Her brilliance comes as a perfect replacement for all our lost children,” he said. Sunday Mail