Magoke, Elias Msuka
Elias (Eliya) Msuka Magoke, of the Bakwaya clan, was born in Usumau (Busumabu)-Kwimba, Mwanza in Tanzania. His family name was Bulugu and his nickname Magoke. His father’s name was Bulugu and his mother’s name Shikalile.
He was educated up to the sixth grade from 1938 to 1943 and spoke Kiswahili, Kizinza, and Kisukuma. His vision was to be an herbalist. During his youth, he went through the big famine, Nzala ya Maharage (the famine of beans). He also suffered from small pox.
His first wife’s name was Tizra Shitiho. After her death he married Esther Mbombo.
In 1938, he accepted Christ at the African Inland Church in Bujora-Sukuma Mwanza. Two years later he felt called to the ministry, became a church elder and later that same year became a local pastor-Nangi in the Bugando-Geita district. He planted the Kahunda Africa Inland Church in the Sengerema district in Mwanza in 1949.
He served in the Africa Inland Church from 1949 to 1962 in the Kahunda local church giving the church and local school his land and property. He later switched to the Anglican Church and moved to Shinyanga because he suffered from asthma. From 1963-1964 he served at Igulubi-Nzega, becoming an ordained Anglican pastor in 1965. The church had about thirty members but grew to seven hundred and fifty. For twenty-six years he was pastor of a church in Shinyanga town until his death in 1991.
He had eight children: Joshua, Perpetua, Jesca, David, Veronica, Samwel, Eli, and Eli. His grandchildren were Melchizedeck, Eliakim, Joseph, Nuru, Yusuf, Magoke, Daniel, Doricas, and Elias.
He is remembered for his diligence in strengthening the work he started and encouraging believers to remain in the faith. People who knew him are Rev. Joel Ng’wananogu, Rev. James Ngoye, and Mrs. Esther Magoke of the Anglican Church in Shinyanga.
Bela B. Kalumbete
Nyagwaswa, Leya, interview by the author, November 2000, Mwanza.
This article was researched and written by Bela B. Kalumbete, a Project Luke Fellow associated with the Africa Inland Church, Tanzania.