WHEN most people see a female patron in a night club or beer hall, at the back of their minds they see a lady of the night soliciting for sex and money.
Report By Brian Nkiwane
But pool player Patricia Gamanya (Mama G) has bucked the trend, taking the male-dominated sport by storm.
Spotting her trademark black t-shirt and a cap, both inscribed with the logo of National Pool League’s main sponsor, Black Label, Mama G hit balls with ease as she sent another male opponent packing at a Chitungwiza watering hole.
Her prowess in the sport has earned her the nickname Mama G, which has stuck to her like a leech.
“Most pool players and fans know me as ‘Mama G’. This nickname has stuck on me and it has just became the name that I use anywhere I go,” Gamanya told Standardsport from her Zengeza 5 section home.
The first thing she spoke about was the way most female night club patrons were viewed and how she had managed to make other family members understand her choice.
“Most people think that female patrons come to night clubs searching for men as well as drinking beer, but that is wrong. The truth of the matter is that some ladies come to night clubs just to play pool and have one or two beers before going home without even thinking of any mischief.
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“When I first told my husband I wanted to play pool, the first question was where, since pool is played in beer halls. I told him I knew pool was played in beer halls and night clubs; he did not understand me at first.
“He would accompany me to all the tournaments I went to play at, until such a time he discovered that it was just for the love of the game,” Gamanya said.
Apart from the notion of linking female patrons to prostitution, Gamanya also spoke at length about male counterparts who looked down upon female players.
“I think as female pool players, we have tried our best to make our voices heard. We used to be looked down upon by our male counterparts, but we have made efforts to fight that, which has seen some of us holding influential positions at district, provincial and even at national levels.”
Gamanya, whose skills on the pool table are giving a lot of men sleepless nights, rose to stardom in 2010 when she outclassed a number of men in the Chitungwiza Pool League where she rose to a leadership role.
“My first move was being co-opted in the Chitungwiza chapter as a committee member. I then took up a six-month referees/umpire course which then put me where I am today, as the head umpire in the Chitungwiza League,” she said.
Gamanya was later elected in the Harare/Chitungwiza executive where she is a committee member.
The soft-spoken lady has represented Chitungwiza at national level three times, coming out fourth in 2010, second in 2011 before performing dismally last year when she was booted out in the second round by a lady from Gweru.
“Last year the competition was a bit tough. I could not go beyond second round but for the past two years, I enjoyed the fruits of the sport.”
But just who exactly is she?
Born in Mutare on May 24 1976, Patricia did her primary education in the same city before relocating to Chitungwiza for her secondary education.
After school, the self-styled “Iron Lady” spent much of her time at her father’s shop at Chikwanha where she started playing pool as a pastime until she was lured to join Skyview Pool Club in Chitungwiza where she honed her skills before moving to Jokes Pool Club in the same hood.
Gamanya told Standardsport that it was her father who had inspired her to become the player she was today.
“My father was an amateur golfer. I used to admire the way he played so I decided to have my own unique sport,” she concluded with a grin as she looked towards the heavens in memory of her late father.
She is married to Tryon and the couple is blessed with three children.