Dzamara children's life of hell

HARARE - Whereever Itai Dzamara is, he is undoubtedly a very lonely man.

His two children too, are going through their own hell, as former friends torture them with the words, “your father is a cattle thief.”

When he was “arrested” on March 9 this year, while he was getting a haircut, five armed men accused him of cattle theft, handcuffed him, and drove off at high speed. He was never seen again.

And daily, Dzamara’s two children, Nokutenda 7 and Nenyasha 3, have been anticipating their father’s safe return, but a knock at the gate has not produced their hero.

He was a loving father, Dzamara’s distraught wife told the Daily News On Sunday last week.

For his “orphaned” children each passing day is a stark reminder that “dad isn’t coming home” but somehow they still manage to cling on to hope.

Home is no longer safe for these two children.

But how does one explain to a three-year-old that their dad was abducted and isn’t bringing any goodies home just like what other dads in the neighbourhood do.

“The children ask where their father is everyday and I just tell them he is not here, but the first born who is seven has a better understanding and knows what happened,” Sheffra, Dzamara’s wife, told the Daily News On Sunday.

While he was an avowed anti-President Robert Mugabe activist, Dzamara was also a devoted husband and father who was always home on time, his wife said.

Without the “head of the house” the children are stricken and it’s showing judging by the eldest’s  dipping performance at school.

Somehow, their father’s unexplained disappearance has cast a dark shadow on their very beings.

“He (Nokutenda) has not told me about any kind of discrimination he might be experiencing at school but at home he has stopped playing with other children from the neighbourhood because they ask him where his dad is and they laugh at him, saying his father was arrested for stealing cattle. So he no longer goes out to play,” said Sheffra.

The 32-year-old mother, is now left with the burden of worry and fear that anything can happen to the children as those who took her husband are still unknown and might be lurking somewhere in the sprawling suburb of Glen Norah, ready to pounce.

“I feel we are in danger because the people who took my husband can do anything, so it is good that he is not playing outside and we escort him to and from school, but we always fear that anything can happen,” Sheffra said.

Last week, the two children joined a national prayer meeting and as their mother wept — they cut sorry and forlorn figures even in the midst of a sea of sympathisers.

The government of Zimbabwe’s poor record on human rights and its knack of crushing any form of dissent ruthlessly knocks fear in most men, but the slightly-built Dzamara stood up and like a giant demanded that Mugabe steps down “because he had failed.”

Asked if the family was not afraid when her husband ventured into the murky waters of politics and practically walked on thin ice, Sheffra said it was his choice and “calling”.

“There was never a time when I tried to stop him because I could see that it was his calling, it was in him. I would support him and we would put it to God in prayer,” recounted Sheffra.

Dzamara’s wife remains faith-filled and is hopeful that her husband is still alive.

“It’s hard, it’s really hard (looking at the time he has been missing) but as I said, I just put it to God. I am a Christian, I pray I should have felt it somehow that Itai is gone, but I hope that he is still alive,’ she said.

Itayi’s brother Patson likened Sheffra’s resilience and strength to that of the late South African president Nelson Mandela’s former wife Winnie, but in her own unique way.

Winnie endured 27 years of her husband’s absence while he was imprisoned by the ruthless apartheid regime because he was fighting for the emancipation of black people in South Africa.

“As a family we are also indebted to her because she’s shown a great deal of maturity and resilience. It’s not easy for her not to break down but she remains strong and hopeful. Not only that — she is also cooperative,” Patson said, referring to his sister-in-law.

Comments (4)

so sad. some people are heartless

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mama mather - 21 July 2015

maybe there is still hope on itai.only god knows where he is

botty - 21 July 2015

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