Uphold Masara’s business legacy and lifetime work: Minister Gwaradzimba

Humanitarian aid field officers trained on captivating photo journalism
July 10, 2019
Samaita reincarnates Dembo, Dhewa music in coming-out album
July 18, 2019

Uphold Masara’s business legacy and lifetime work: Minister Gwaradzimba

The late Mutare based transport mogul who was the founder of Masara Transport, Hubert Masara, was conferred a provincial liberation war hero and laid to rest on Sunday at the Manicaland Provincial Heroes Acre.

Ngoni Dapira
THE family of the late Mutare based transport tycoon and founding director of MasTrans, Hubert Masara, who passed away last week Thursday was told to uphold the business legacy of the late by the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, and not dishonor his lifetime work for the past 48-years in business.

The Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba going to lay the wreath on the grave of the late Hubert Masara.

The late Masara who was conferred with a provincial hero’s status and was laid to rest on Sunday at the Manicaland Provincial Heroes Acre was described as a nationalistic, indigenous business champion. He passed away last week Thursday morning at Murambi Gardens Hospital in Mutare where he succumbed to diabetes after a long illness.

The 77 –year old transport mogul who built his business empire from the ground was recognized as one of the pioneering indigenous transport operators to emerge from Manicaland who contributed immensely towards the welfare of liberation fighters during the liberation war and to the ruling Zanu-PF party after independence in 1980.
Speaking at the burial service, Dr Gwaradzimba said the province had in a short space of time lost another enterprising indigenous businessman after having buried the late business magnate and former Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) national president, Hlanganiso Matangaidze, at the provincial shrine early this year in January.

The resident Minister said the late Masara was a rare breed of businessmen that is now lacking in the country among the modern-day young entrepreneurs and implored the family members not to destroy the business legacy left by the transport tycoon. Adding that they should learn from other children that inherited thriving family businesses and expanded on them.

“Literally, there is no one in Manicaland that does not know Masara Transport just to show the importance of this man we have gathered for today. His business legacy started from the era before independence up-to-date and such discipline and good work ethic should not go ignored. So please the Masara family, please build on his legacy. In such circumstance where a massive business empire is left behind by the deceased, we have seen some families start fighting over the inheritance and properties immediately after the death of the deceased and the end result is the collapse of the business, but we hope this will not be the case with you. Please maintain and build on the business legacy left by Masara and continue to work with the ruling party to help develop this country,” she said.

She also urged other indigenous businesspeople to learn from the late Masara by contributing to the growth of the gross domestic product of the province through operating thriving, formal businesses rather than building personal wealth through backyard businesses that operate illicitly.

Reading his obituary, Dr Gwaradzimba said during the liberation war, the late Masara fed and clothed liberation war fighters and after independence his transport business served the party (Zanu-PF) in various projects advancing the black empowerment drive by government.

“For one to be called a liberation war hero it does not only mean those people that fought during the liberation war or those that collaborated as Mujibha and Chimbwindo cooking and assisting the comrades. It is also conferred to those that served the country industriously and loyally through their works. When we received the message of the death of Hubert Masara, as the provincial leadership, everyone immediately endorsed his hero’s status. He worked hard for this country from the Rhodesian era and post-independence up to the time of his death. He braved contributing towards the comrades during harsh political times in Rhodesia. This is why we are acknowledging this great businessman who was born and raised here in Manicaland,” said the resident Minister.

Representing the Masara family Patience Masara Ndlovu said they were proud of their father who had left them with a strong work ethic legacy. “As the Masara family we feel extremely honoured that the Zanu-PF party and his Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa recognized our father as a provincial hero… We feel this honour is deserving to a man who has done such incredible work for Manicaland…As a family we say dad we are so proud of you. You leave us with a legacy of a strong work ethic, integrity, entrepreneurship and hard work. We receive the spiritual heritage you passed to us. You have done well our hero. Go well and rest in peace,” she said.

Narrating his life history she said the ingenious late transporter was also a carpenter, a mechanic and salesman before focusing solely on growing his transport business. “Our grandfather died when my father was very young so he (the late Masara) had a very tough upbringing. He struggled to pay his school fees and at times had to do menial jobs to make ends meet for his school fees, but he managed to reach up to Standard Six in his education,” she said.

Patience added that the late Masara who was affectionately called SaMfero, was able to grow his business empire and survive the economic upheavals over the years because of his strong work ethic character. “He went to the Grange in Honde Valley and worked under Billy Hullet who saw his potential and trained him to work as a mechanic. His first entrepreneurial endeavor was in Bemhiwa in Marange where he opened a general dealer shop. In 1971 he bought his first truck and this was a big achievement. Through hard work and his visionary leadership he grew the MasTrans business distributing throughout Southern Africa and as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Masara Transport which later rebranded to MasTrans was established in 1979, but became registered as a private limited company in 1981. From humble beginning with a small 2-ton truck that the late Masara used to drive himself, the company grew to have a fleet of 30-haulage trucks among other subsidiary enterprises. By the time of his death the late Masara had won many business accolades from ZNCC Manicaland chapter, including the highest honour, which he received in 2017, which was the Lifetime Achievement Award. often presented to businesspeople that would have contributed immensely to the growth and development of the business landscape in the country throughout their long spanning business careers.

EasternTimesZim Business interviewed some businesspeople from his time who spoke highly of his strong will and visionary business acumen. Albie Makunike who also started business in the 1980s said Masara was one of the few indigenous businesspeople from their time that braved to stay in the transport business uptodate.

“He had buses that fared the Nyamaropa (Nyanga) to Harare route but this did not last long and he ventured into haulage trucks. Many tried out in the buses and haulage trucks business after independence but a few grew successful and thriving businesses that are still operational like what Masara did. From Sakubva where he started off living, Masara managed to take his family out of the ghetto (high density suburb) to live in the low density suburbs amongst the whites and built a name for himself. He worked very hard to achieve what he achieved,” said Makunike who still runs his family shop downtown along Herbert Chitepo Street.

Real estate businessman Joseph Sanhanga said Mutare had lost a hardworking entrepreneur. “He proved to be a cut above the rest by growing a thriving transport business. It was not easy setting up businesses before and just after independence, especially if you wanted to swim in deep waters where white owned businesses had a monopoly. He raised the bar in the transport business and I am happy that my friend managed to grow his business to become very successful and become an iconic transporter that many young indigenous transporters now look up to. May his legacy live on and I am glad the President (ED Mnangagwa) endorsed him as a provincial liberation war hero in recognition of his efforts in business,” said Sanhanga who was the first indigenous businessman after independence to build his double storey building, Sanhanga Centre, in the central business district of Mutare, which was commissioned by the then President, Robert Mugabe in 1992.

The burial service at the provincial Heroes Acre was also graced by the Manicaland provincial administrator Edgar Seenza, Zanu-PF Manicaland chairman and deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mike Madiro,  Hwedza South legislator Honourable Tino Machakaire who is also the owner of the Mutare based transport company, Tinmac Motors, among other senior provincial government, Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association members. Notably, people from all walks of life and top businesspeople from all-over the province also came in their numbers to pay their last respect to their colleague who was applauded for not abandoning Manicaland, but opting to grow his transport empire from Mutare where his headquarters was situated in Nyakamete Industrial site. The late Masara is survived by his second wife Priscilla Machiri Masara that he remarried after his first wife Joyce Chindongo Masara passed away, four surviving children out of five and grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *