Patson Dzamara: Balancing professional life and activism not easy

AUTHOR, motivational speaker and leadership trainer Patson Dzamara would hardly be known to many today if it were not for his courage to carry the family burden of keeping his brother’s abduction on the national and international information radar.

Patson Dzamara stages a one man demonstration on independence day

Patson Dzamara stages a one man demonstration on independence day

Patson, 30, is a bachelor and younger brother to journalist and pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara, who was seized by suspected state agents more than a year ago.

His whereabouts still remain a mystery to this day.

Most believe this was a state attempt to silence the firebrand activist who dared to confront President Robert Mugabe’s regime when many considered the occupation way too dangerous.

In Itai’s absence, Patson, a leadership consultant who has toured the world teaching business executives on the art, now finds himself having to abandon the occupation to engage in a task some would think was meant for rogues.

This has often seen him doing one-man sit-ins at the Africa Unity Square to draw attention around his brother’s continued absence.

This has come with a heavy price though.

Patson was on Independence Day yanked by state security agents in front of President Mugabe when he had ambushed the leader with a placard demanding his brother’s return.

He is adamant he shall continue with the business for as long as his brother’s whereabouts remain unknown.

“For as long as I still have the energy, I will see to it that this matter does not die down,” he said in an interview with RadioVOP.

He continues; “This is no longer about Itai alone but this is about setting a precedence using Itai’s case.

“We do not want this to happen to anybody again in Zimbabwe regardless of our differences.

“No one should be a victim of forced disappearance whoever they are and what they stand for.”

Patson says his current abuse by the same state the family believed was responsible for Itai’s disappearance has devastated the siblings’ parents.

However, he continued, they realise that someone somewhere has to carry the burden and they have bought into his idea of the family becoming “an emblem” against forced disappearances in Zimbabwe.

His unfortunate ordeal at independence followed earlier attempts by him and his family to meet President Mugabe in efforts to discuss Itai’s disappearance and to ask him to speak out against matters of forced disappearances.

This was however dismissed with a discourteous “the president has better issues to attend to other than the missing Dzamara” statement by presidential spokesperson George Charamba.

But how easy has it been to balance between being a motivational speaker at corporate functions into being a firebrand street activist deserving of a bashing?

“I am still able to go and make a presentation at the hotel and be the gentleman you would know of on another day,” he says.

“I have though been in instances whereby some people have eventually shut me out simply because they had their own different, dogmatic positions as far as national issues are concerned.

“It is something a leader must be prepared to encounter and deal with especially considering that these two seem to be extremes.”

The author of seven books hints on that the abuses he was taking, coupled with continuous injustices directed at ordinary Zimbabweans, could eventually push him into seeking political office.

As his partying short, Patson tells a secret.

“When Itai wanted to do the Occupy Africa Unity Square campaigns, I was the first person he called and we sat down and counted the costs,” he said.

“I am actually one of the trustees for Occupy Africa Unity Square.

“We sat down and counted the costs involved as it what it involved.

“We then actually agreed that I would play the backstage role; I was not directly involved but I was involved.

“We discussed these things and we came to an understanding it could have been sad for both of us to be taken at the same time.”

The activist has just been released from remand prison where he was incarcerated together with other activists on alleged robbery, a charge they believe was an attempt by the state to stop a 16 day campaign they had put up at Africa Unity Square in protest over continued poverty and joblessness, among other glaring government failures.

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