I am a multi-media freelance journalist based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, with well over ten years’ experience in print and radio journalism. I initially pursued a career in teaching, but after an increasing interest in journalism in the intervening years, I went back to college and graduated from a public journalism school in the country in 2002. I share the view of famous British playwright Tom Stoppard who once said: “I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon.” Since November 2006 I have been a regular stringer for a radio station that broadcasts to Zimbabwe from outside the country. The station, established in 2003 with the help of some journalists living in exile, has become a credible, popular alternative to the propaganda churned out by state-owned electronic media in the country. The state has had a stranglehold on electronic media from the time the country attained independence in 1980. In spite of a seemingly endless and much reported cycle of socioeconomic problems, I believe there is still a lot to report on in Zimbabwe, especially from Bulawayo, the country's second biggest city where I am based. Amidst the doom and gloom that the country’s current situation often evokes, Zimbabweans, who have earned a reputation of being resilient in the face of adversity, still find ways to get by, doing their best to take care of their families’ daily needs, still sending their children to school, holding on to the hope that things shall be better soon. Such a situation, no doubt, provides a rich basis for several inspiring stories, some of which I have been able to capture and keenly strive to continue doing so for as long as I can.
This is a story I did for Studio 7 about some Zimbabweans' concern over a move by the country's postal and telecommunications regulatory authority to stop mobile telephone operators from running promotions that enabled locals to access cheaper services. The move, which came in the wake of complaints of social media 'abuse' by President Robert Mugabe and threats of arrests of alleged social media 'abusers' by the state's security agents, was widely viewed as a curtailment of freedom of expression.
This is a story that I did for Studio 7, also known as VOAZimbabwe, about a protest staged by some locals in Bulawayo during the second cricket test match between Zimbabwe and New Zealand in August 2016. For security reasons, I use a pseudonym, -Taurai Shava- when reporting for Studio 7 because the authorities have banned it on the grounds that it is a 'pirate' station. Studio 7 is available to Zimbabwe on SW or MW frequencies, as well as via digital satellite.
This is a story that I did and led BBC's Focus on Africa bulletin on Saturday 19th September, about demonstrations in Bulawayo and across Zimbabwe by some of the country's political parties, under the umbrella body known as National Electoral Reform Agenda, or NERA, pushing for electoral reforms. The main opposition MDC-T and other parties insist that national elections can only be held after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission institutes 'meaningful' reforms, including a new voters roll based on bio-metric registration. The opposition has often accused the ruling Zanu PF party of vote rigging by, among other things, manipulating the voters roll. Zimbabwe's next elections are in 2018.