Victor Lusunzi, a young man from Thohoyandou, Limpopo, who made his name at CWC (Christian Worship Centre), shared his backstory, his journey and his love for Soundcraft.
“I found myself wanting to do more in church and, fortunately for me, there was an opening in the audio department,” Lusunzi explains. “Early every Sunday morning, we would take the audio out of the storeroom, connect and do sound check because we wanted to ensure that everything was ready for service to start at 10am.
“A friend of mine who happened to be the pastor’s son had enrolled to study at ASE (Academy of Sound Engineering). The times when he would return home to Thohoyandou, he would teach us what he learnt at the academy which was met with great excitement and as such it helped me fall in love with sound.
“Over time, I was given the freedom to mix youth service during the week which was a great education for me. And that was when I met Soundcraft because at the time the church had a GB4 in 2008/2009.”
However, a change would soon come that would bring an unexpected growth opportunity for Lusunzi.
“In 2010 the head of sound engineering had decided to leave the church to pursue other interests. As I was already doing youth service, the church decided to promote me to main service. In a 3,000-seater church, I was given the opportunity to mix front of house which was a surreal experience – and I’ll eternally be thankful to Dr VW Madzinge and CWC for that.”
“What I love about Soundcraft is how their consoles sound. The preamps are pristine and have so much headroom, the workflow is intuitive and logical, and an enormous amount of focus has been placed on the analogue to digital conversion. The console sounds great and the BSS EQs are extremely musical. It is, in my opinion, the sexiest mixing console in the industry. When I stand behind a Vi Series console, I feel like I’m a pilot.”– Victor “Big Vic” Lusunzi
A year later, Lusunzi met Hendrick Nemalili (owner of Murangi Productions), who at the time (2011) was working at Wild & Marr, who had proposed an upgrade solution to the CWC’s sound system.
Wild & Marr installed a Soundcraft Si1 mixing console with JBL SRX and PRX loudspeakers and subwoofers complimented by a range of Shure microphones.
Lusunzi fondly recalls: “I must say the sound was amazing after the audio system overhaul, and in fact the first service took longer because the worship team didn’t want to stop singing.”
CWC had built up a reputation for themselves for having phenomenal sound in Thohoyandou, thus attracting promoters to book the church for gospel shows with renowned artists like Benjamin Dube.
Working at FOH, Lusunzi became an expert Soundcraft operator. He found himself exploring the capabilities of the console which, at the time, were groundbreaking. Lusunzi is a firm believer in an RTM (Read The Manual) approach.
“We were in pursuit of perfection at every service, we aimed for a live broadcast standard!” says Lusunzi.
A group of new audio volunteers had come into the audio fold and Lusunzi took it upon himself to share his knowledge and mentor these young engineers.
“Later on, after many calls canvassing myself as a JBL and Soundcraft sound engineer, I received a call from a company by the name of Sight and Sound who invited me to work with them for a few shows as a working assessment. The first show I did with them was on a rooftop in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. They were very impressed by my ability and invited me to freelance for them.
“Awesome events then contacted me to work with them on Dstv iRock (Limpopo) and I started mixing monitors on a Soundcraft Vi1. The transition from an Si to a Vi was seamless. In the role of a monitor engineer, I learnt very quickly that I was the extension of the band and I had to be selfless in that role in order to give them what they want. It was a great education and a fantastic experience for me. The exposure was beyond my expectations.”
Having a great relationship with Hendrick and freelancing for Murangi Productions, he was contracted to do Spirit of Praise in Gaborone, Botswana. “I joined Murangi for this tour and was introduced to the power and clarity of JBL VTX A12 at this time,” he says.
“It was on this tour that I met Petru Palmer and Gert Watson, who are phenomenal engineers,” he continues. “It was an opportunity for me to be the student again and improve my knowledge.”
Upon Multimedia acquiring Sight and Sound and thus creating a new division, namely Multimedia Express, Lusunzi was eventually offered a position on a permanent basis.
“Although the company focuses more on corporate events, I continue to learn even at this level.”
Asked about his wholistic view of learning and growing in the industry, Lusunzi replies: “The willingness to learn and acquire new knowledge is part of my ethos. Even though I am comfortable with my system and workflow, I keep an open mind when watching other engineers because there is always something to learn. It’s about having a humble attitude and observing and listening to others – that’s where the greatest learning opportunities arise.”
Asked about what he thinks it takes to make it in the industry and what it has taught him, he comments: “I’ve learnt that perseverance is key. There were times where one just thought this is not working out for me and maybe it’s time to try something else. Especially in those dry seasons when my mobile is not ringing.” Lusunzi smiles. “But my passion forces me to persevere because I live it, I love it, I dream it!”
Reflecting on his journey, he says: “Ndamu Madzingeplayed a critical role in my life by just transferring some of the audio knowledge he gained from ASE to me. I owe him a lot. The church enabled me to practice the knowledge I had gained on the console, to my heart’s content.”
In conclusion, Lusunzi tells us about who he admires: “I aspire to one day reach the level of the greats like Cristo Hattingh, Gabriel Le Roux and Petru Palmer. I admire the level of knowledge they have, the experience they have gained and the patience they show in teaching others. I hope to emulate their success and to be one of the best engineers in South Africa. I try to attend as much training as I can, I follow the latest trends in technology and never think I know too much. I just keep learning, progressing and staying humble.”
For more information about Soundcraft products, please visit www.wildandmarr.co.za.