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The Big Interview With Patson Dzamara

16 Oct 2017 at 19:07hrs | Views
Tell me about Patson Dzamara the man from a village in Mutoko, how u grew up and relate with your family?

I was born fouth in a family of six at All Souls Mission Hospital in Mutoko. I have two elder brothers, one elder sister and one younger sister. Sadly one of my three sisters passed on a few days after birth. Itai is my parents' first born.

Growing up, we alternated between Nyamakosi village in Mutoko and the high density surburb of Highfield. I am proudly an unquestionable rural and ghetto boy.

Except for my A level studies which I did at Lord Malvern High school in Waterfalls, I attended primary and secondary school in Highfield. I would go to Mutoko every school holiday to spend time with my mother and to help her with her farming projects.

Despite the difference in age between me and my elder siblings, engaging in physical fights with them was the norm. I have always believed in standing my ground and I have always been an independent person. Interestingly, I don't recall ever fighting with my younger sister or even beating her up. In fact, despite the fact that I am seven years older than her, she calls me mfana (young brother) and I call her blaz (big brother). Its just one of those things.

How did you become Patson Dzamara the life coach, speaker and writer?

They say that destiny is a matter of choice but that is not always the case. At times destiny chooses us. When it does, nothing and no one can do anything about it.

When I was in Primary school, I used to think and hope I would become a medical doctor or engineer. I do not fancy numbers that much and I have always struggled with statistics in my tertiary academic journey but when I was in primary school I was really good with numbers. I actually attained an A in mathematics in my grade seven final exam.

However and inspite of that, nothing tickled me more than standing in front of people. I won't forget what happened when I was eleven years old. As usual, I went to Mutoko during the April school holiday. We grew up attending Roman Catholic church and every easter holiday the  Roman Catholic church in our village would always host a youth conference.

I managed to convince the youth leaders to give me a slot to speak at the conference. During my speech/sermon, I tried to emulate and mimic my then Highfield assembly priest. He was a sharp tongued no nonsense man. He would scold and directly attack people in his congregation while preaching. That priest was my point of reference.

The long and short of it is that I did not even finish my speech/sermon that night. Some older boys wanted to beat me up after I scolded them. In fact, I had to leave the the conference in a huff, running away from those boys who were baying for my blood.

Eventually, I managed to sweet talk the boys I had scolded and they became a part of my parallel youth organisation. I actually assembled my first team at the age of eleven and we held more than five meetings at my parents' home. That is how my journey as a speaker, life coach and leader started.

Thank God for my mother for being gracious and benevolent. She probably saw something in me because she never blocked me from pursuing my wild dreams. I was just eleven and some of the people I was leading were in their 20's.

As far as writing is concerned, my brother Itai taught and mentored me. I did not do literature in school neither do I consider myself an avid reader. Writing is a gift and I am forever grateful to my brother Itai for stirring and fanning the gift.

Dr Patson Dzamara, how does that sound to you? There has been  some controversy as to the identity and worth of the title care to explain?

Its very simple and straight forward. My parents taught me to work hard and to earn my crown. I do not believe in freebies neither do I consider myself dull to the extend of purchasing an academic paper. I have been looking forward to put out a statement regarding that soon after my graduation this year. I do not wish to appear as though I am prevaricating, as such i will give your question the satisfaction of an answer.

Sadly, I am a victim of a bastardised and poor system. I enrolled and completed my PhD studies in leadership through Calvary University. The institution operated in Zimbabwe for a number of years until it was deemed unfit to operate. There were some irregularities and it was concluded that it didn't meet the standards of our education system.

Innocently and genuinely, I enrolled. I was/am not a part of the government. Where was the government when the institution operated? I am just a victim of a poor, reactionary system. As soon as those issues surfaced, leading to the banning and disbanding of the institution, I quickly enrolled with an Indian institution, Christ University and I am happy that after a thorough and rigorous process, I recently submitted my final thesis for evaluation.

I am hoping to do my final thesis defence and graduate with 'another' PhD this year or early next year. Thereafter, professorship will be my next port of call. I have written several books and academic papers and so I say, professorship here I come.

Of course, my detractors have used this issue against me, lying and inflating the reality but this is my truth. I am a lifelong learner and I am actually pursuing other academic programs as I prepare myself for the leadership journey ahead of me. To me it is not about titles but results. I don't wish to be remembered by a title but by my results. That is the reason why I no longer even use any title and I won't. I am Patson Dzamara.

Patson Dzamara the political activist. How did you graduate from the grief of losing a brother to become a fighter of the regime yourself?

I always say that a dead man can never be ‘‘deadier'' than being dead. It is actually the 'loss' (abduction) of my brother which precipitated my fight.

The despicable oppression we have endured under the ZANU - PF led government is infested with ugly fingerprints. Don't get it twisted, as far as ideology is concerned, ZANU - PF has the best but the actors and actresses have departed from the fundamentals of the party's ideology. There is a cabal of gangsters in ZANU - PF which has practically done everything within its power to decimate our humanity and dignity as Zimbabweans. They have already killed us though we are still alive.

By constantly seeking to dehumanise us, they have killed our trust in them. They have killed our sense of pride. By constantly subjecting us to their venom of oppression, they have killed our care; we don't care what they can or can't do anymore.

For choosing to be strangers to conscience and for choosing to welcome recurring attacks of insanity, we are no longer afraid of them. Something has to give.

It is with all that in mind that I boldly stand for what is right. I am not moved by what some of these custodians of evil can or can't do. They are not gods. They have tried several tactics earmarked at breaking my spine but I am still standing.

I have been arrested and tortured several times. For taking a stand against the abduction of my brother and leadership failure, I have been a constant target of malicious lies but I am not moved. None of all that has and shall cajole me to normalise what is abnormal. If I am to choose between dying a coward and dying for the truth, I will choose the latter.

In all these roles, from childhood to political activism what stands out as most satisfying and heartbreaking?

God has been really good to me. I have had the privilege of accessing big platforms around the world. I have represented Zimbabwe at the World Economic Forum and other platforms. I have presented before presidents and the powerful. In all that, nothing comes close to when I launched 5 books in one go in 2014. It was a world record - the most books launched in one go by the youngest author. That certainly ranks among the most satisfying and proud moments of my life. Work is currently underway to push my books internationally through a global publisher.

I have come to learn that when pursuing big dreams, certain necessities become luxuries. One of the most heartbreaking experiences I have endured on this path was being ditched by the woman I loved. All was set and we were good to graduate to marriage. She told me that I was 'too much fish for her tank' and that she didn't think she had enough grace to be with me, considering what my path leads me through. We had to kiss goodbye.

The other heartbreaking experience  has been welcoming controversy. In fact, I have now come to the realisation that controversy shall be my constant companion but in the first days, it used to affect me.

Just when should we expect Dr Amai? Do u have any qualities you look for in a woman?

It is in the pipeline. The most important quality I look for in a woman is the fear of the lord. Beauty is vain but the fear of the lord is priceless. Of course, brains and beauty to my eyes are other considerations. She must be someone who will dilute this Buja dark pigmentation of mine...hahaha.

Some suggest that you are simply riding on your brother's mishap for money and fame. What would you say about that?

Allow me to let you in on the facts. When Itai started Occupy Africa Unity Square, I was actually one of the trustees. In fact, I am the first person he shared his vision with and we agreed on that day that we would work together but assuming different roles.

Considering the vicissitudes of the path, we did not find it wise to plunge in together at once. As such my role was ancillary in nature. My role was to manage itai and the campaign from the peripheries, which I did. I was always there during the protests. I am the one who took almost 3/4 of photos of him during protests. I was Itai and the campaign's first line of support even financially. I was always the first person to attend to him and his team whenever they were arrested or tortured. That was my role then based on what we had agreed and it was strategic.

Now, when it comes to fame and money, its rather mischievous for anyone to conclude that I am an activist because I want money or fame. Itai Dzamara is not the first Zimbabwean to have been abducted on political grounds. The only difference between the other cases and Itai's is that I took a stand. After the exhibit of evil through Itai's abduction, I was the last person who was supposed to even dare think of following his footsteps but I did, caring less for my comfort and safety. In other words, If there is fame or anything which came along with this, I worked and paid the price for it.

The donor funds mantra is fallacious. Donors do not fund individuals but programs of established civic societies. Most if not all social movements are not even structured, they are organic in nature and I know not of any one social movement or its leaders who have been given money by the so called donors. It's just the state's propaganda earmarked at derailing our movement but I must hasten to say that indeed there has been allegations of financial mismanagement by some of my colleagues in some social movements. I am however not responsible or answerable for other people's actions or alleged actions.

As far as fame is concerned, it is imperative for me to state that the first time I was in a newspaper or on TV was not because of Itai's abduction, it was because of my exploits. For instance when I launched five books in one go, It was a world record and it was covered in both local and international media.

I am an able minded and bodied man. I work and I earn a modest living from my work.

Above all, I am actually the one who proudly takes care of Itai's family, from subsistence to even sending my nephew and niece to school. It is an honor for me to be able to that actually. I thank God for his grace. At times it's hard but his grace is always sufficient for us.

Are you running for office in 2018?

As far as my role in national leadership is concerned, I am not under any sort of illusion whatsoever that there is a place created for me or I am creating for myself. I actually commit to doing my best in whatever place my purpose will lead me to in the fullness of time.

For now, I will continue to do my best to offer my modest contribution towards the realisation of a better Zimbabwe in any possible way.

If you had one wish what would it be?

Meeting my brother Itai again on this side of life.

What do you see in your future?

My heart's desire is to allow God to order my steps towards my destiny in my leadership purpose. Wherever my purpose leads me through on the path to my destiny I will gladly embrace it and I will do my best to do my duty to God, myself, my loved ones, my country, the world and to help others.

The future will be bigger, brighter and better.

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