By Patson Dzamara
FOR as long as there is contentment, freedom is a far-fetched ideal. Discontentment is the gateway to freedom.
Growing up in Harare’s high density suburb of Highfield, I used to have deep regard for a lady whose name was Sheila. She was blessed with beauty and brains.
As a young lady, Sheila always looked forward to her wedding day and a solid family life. She was extremely picky but when Marshall dazzled her with his creations of fantasies and superfluous purported deeds of love, the poor young lady surrendered her soul to him.
The two automatically found themselves ruptured in the world of uncensored emotional expression. In less than a month, they were married.
Marshall hailed from a well to do family. When his parents died in a fatal car accident, he inherited their entire wealth which included a vast business empire. Sheila was convinced that she had gotten exactly what she wanted, a loving husband who had what it took to take care of her.
A few months into the marriage, a monster emerged out of Marshall. He began to abuse her, both physically and emotionally.
Sheila’s family tried to encourage her to sever the marriage several times but she kept on believing that one day Marshall would transform. She settled and she was a happy slave.
Despite the fact that she was now on a wheelchair as a result of Marshall’s abusive tendencies, she just could not walk away. Life outside Marshall’s sphere was not anything she was prepared to face.
Day in and day out, Sheila was a recipient of Marshall’s abuse until she eventually succumbed and died.
You see, a prolonged abnormal becomes normal. Sheila didn’t have to stick it out with an abusive husband. She didn’t have to die because of Marshall’s abuse. She had a choice to leave him but she was content and comfortable in a dysfunctional set up.
One man once intoned that it is almost impossible to free a happy slave and that rings true to me. For as long as someone is happy or content in a situation, it’s hard to show them an alternative. It takes discontentment and discomfort for change to happen. Nothing ever changes without discontentment and discomfort.
After witnessing the Zanu PF march this week, several theories have been proffered. Chief among them is the theory which inclines towards the knowledge and conjecture that the people who marched were cajoled to do so.
It is indeed a fact that Zanu PF forces people to attend its activities but we need to negotiate a critical curve here before we totally miss it. What is undeniable is that not everyone who marched this week was forced to march. Similarly, not everyone who marched did so because they wanted to get a residential stand as promised by Zanu PF. I can bet my bottom dollar on the position that more than half of those people who marched did so willingly.
Believe it or not, like it or not, there are people who still have genuine faith in Zanu PF. There are people who still believe that Zanu PF is the Alpha and Omega of this country if comes to national leadership. There are people who still believe that Zanu PF owns this country and nothing can happen beyond its peripheries.
The bottom line is that there are Zimbabweans who are still genuinely content and comfortable with Zanu PF’s rule. Whether it’s a result of indoctrination or coercion, it is their genuine position and we cannot afford to ignore that. They are happy slaves.
In our quest for a better Zimbabwe, we can’t ignore the happy slaves. A great deal of our work has got to zero-in on them. Zanu PF’s strength is in the grassroots. It therefore stands to reason that we cannot consolidate our victory without permeating that constituency.
Strategies and activities must be in place in order to recalibrate and rehabilitate the happy slaves. They certainly need rehabilitation and it is our duty to offer them that special attention.
The majority of these happy slaves are not on Facebook or Twitter. They don’t even understand what a hashtag is but they thoroughly and erroneously understand that Zanu PF is the Alpha and Omega of Zimbabwe’s leadership issues.
If our victory is to be certain, if it is to be consolidated, these happy slaves must be shown the light. At times we may actually have to force them to see the light.
Set the happy slaves free.
Dr. Patson Dzamara is an author, leadership coach, human rights activist who is writing in his personal capacity. For feedback, use email; patsondzamara8gmail.com