OVER the past 10 years, there has been tremendous growth in home–grown motivational and inspirational literature, with Milton Kamwendo celebrated as the pathfinder in this genre on the local scene.
BETWEEN THE LINES WITH PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
Hundreds of books in this literary tradition have been published since, especially by new emerging publishers, from a variety of authors transcending different age groups and socio–cultural backgrounds.
It must be said, however, that most of these writings have unfortunately left a lot to be desired at least on two aspects: in terms of imparting life–changing convictions to the reader and the quality of the writing itself.
It is one thing to have valuable ideas, and another thing to present them in a convincing manner and engaging, flowing writing style.
Personally, I look at writing from a purely technical perspective and my greatest disappointment has been that this new literary genre has been found wanting in that regard. This is a weakness that can be easily cured simply by utilising the services of a technically competent language editor.
I am sure it is for this reason that many young writers that have taken to this genre with a duck’s affinity to water have made little impact.
In recent years, new voices have appeared on the scene, including Rabison Shumba, Arthur Marara and Rabison Shumba and the “new kid” causing waves on the block, Dr Patson Dzamara.
Although Dzamara, however, insists that he locates his writing in the category of “leadership” and “personal development” a reading of his works confirms that they fall within the inspirational and motivational literary tradition.
Dzamara has just released a series of books including The Development Matrix, Volume 1 (ISBN 978-0-77974-5376-0). The book, published this year by Off the Hook Publishers, is a guide to personal and career development towards a fulfilled life.
Perhaps before delving into the merits and demerits of the book, it is important to briefly establish the author’s profile. Regarded as a one of Africa’s foremost leadership experts who serves in various leadership capacities (business administration, personnel management, psychology etc), Dzamara is an educator, life and career coach, motivational speaker and philosopher.
Of late, he has been headlining important workshops, seminars and business conferences around the country and in more ways than one, this speaks to the fact that he has so much to offer. While you may be unable to attend all these “official congregations” you can still benefit from his expansive wisdom and knowledge simply by reading his books and applying the nuggets of success he churns out.
If there is one thing that turns off a reader, it’s “preaching” to them from an elevated “pulpit”, far removed from their lived experiences. In this regard I commend Dzamara for taking us through his own life and personal experiences so that we many learn from his achievements and mistakes. Quite striking, too, is the revelation that at one stage during the teenage years Dzamara just came a few steps from taking his own life!
The lessons from this book are many and varied, and the scope of this column is not wide enough to dissect all of them one by one, suffice to say that here, Dzamara confronts some widely accepted and celebrated notions such as “life begins at 40” which create a spirit of lethargy and procrastination. “Life begins at the time of birth and ends at the time of death.
No one should sink into the abyss of complacency and apathy while observing life unfolding and passing by” (pp17).
The book is broken down into 13 chapters that deal with different ideas and themes, and at the end of each chapter is a “mind drill” that offers the reader an immediate opportunity to apply to their own life the lessons learnt. This is a very important device which breaks down the monotony of the traditional “I speak and you listen” as it allows the reader to be an active participant in the information sharing and application.
How does one deal with strongholds erected by wrong ideas picked up over many years along the journey of life, particularly those that hinder progress? Here we are challenged to “learn, unlearn and relearn” (pp23) because sometimes it is only through change that one is able to develop into a better person.
This is a book that pulsates with life and the reader is left with the impression that life–coaching is Dzamara’s calling.
In that context, his writing flows out of the page to be acted upon, like his encounter with a woman struggling to get married as all her relationship crumble along the way in a morbid pattern that points to unresolved crisis in her family history.
I found this to be the most touching incident, and Dzamara uses it to demonstrate that if you don’t understand your family or personal history, it may become difficult to find solutions to present problems that seem to defy conventional wisdom and professional knowledge.
Dzamara is competent enough to address these kinds of problems because, as the book, demonstrates, this is a road he walked before: “During one of the lowest moments in my life, I almost terminated my life prematurely because I could not connect the dots” (pp31).
According to the wisdom of the world, everyone goes through the “midlife crisis”, but in this book, such a notion is punctured as we are made to understand that it is only those that drift through life purposelessly who experience such. Dzamara dares us to seek out our purpose so that we can sidestep the so–called “midlife crisis”.
We are also made to understand that a study of the self is critical because it allows one to assess their potentials, track record, strong points and shortcomings. And so is making the choice to be a lifelong learner, prioritising self–development and creating a positive catchment area.
I believe this is an important book for however is serious about developing themselves and their career while enjoying fulfilment in life. It literally breathed in my hands, communicating a lot of unsaid things.