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A tribute to fallen journalists in 2020

27 Dec 2020 at 08:18hrs | Views
December has definitely been the worst month of the year 2020, which has really turned out to be the annus horribilis for virtually all Zimbabweans, especially members of the proverbial fourth estate following the consecutive deaths of Charles Laiton on December 21; Tendai Ndemera on December 22; and Foster Dongozi on December 23.

I had already paid tribute to Laiton for and on behalf of the Alpha Media Holdings' Independent editorial Advisory Board of Trustees. On this occasion, I would like to pay tribute to both Ndemera and Dongozi with whom I interacted at different levels and contexts.

I first met Ndemera during the early 1990s when I was the vice-chairman of the inaugural Sports and recreation commission. He struck me as a compulsive, enthusiastic and eloquent storyteller, particularly on matters pertaining to football. As his own promising career as a footballer in the junior ranks of Dynamos Fc had come to an untimely end, I thought he had the makings of another Gary Lineker, who has carved out a very successful career for himself as a sports pundit-cum-journalist when his playing days for various clubs, including my beloved Tottenham Hotspur FC, and England came to an inevitable end.

Our respective paths crossed later, albeit briefly, at the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (AnZ), the publishers of the original Daily News and Daily News on Sunday. I held the fort then as chairman and CEO of ANZ whilst he served as one of the more competent and knowledgeable sports reporters.

My first encounter with Dongozi was in 2007 following my election as chairman of the inaugural Voluntary media council of Zimbabwe (VmcZ) whilst he served as the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), a position, which he held until he passed away.

Dongozi was quite a formidable as opposed to a rabid and cantankerous trade unionist when it came to dealing with issues affecting the welfare of journalists. my enduring memory of him and ZUJ was that they never stopped striving, at all material times, to be on the same page with the VmcZ with regard to the promotion of the hallowed principles of media freedom, accountability, diversity, plurality, inclusivity, independence and ethical journalism.

My second and final encounter with Dongozi and ZUJ was during my stint as mayor of Harare from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2013 when I opened the doors for them at Town House for the establishment of an affordable housing scheme for journalists. To that end, I contributed the princely sum of US$450 as a token of my support for what was and still is a worthy cause. In all my interactions with Dongozi, I found him to be the proverbial gentleman and a scholar.]

Whilst conveying our most sincere condolences to their respective loved ones, we must also pray for their departed souls to rest in eternal peace.

Source - the standard
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