Farewell ‘The Zimbabwe Mail’: Reflections on My Column
The Zimbabwe Mail Newspaper of Wednesday 18 March 2015 was the last one to go to print. Constantine Chimakure, one of Zimbabwe’s big media Industry players, and Editor in Chief of the publication confirmed to his peers in print and online media that the Newspaper was shutting down.
The news will not shock many. 2 Months ago, the newspaper transformed from a daily publication into a weekly publication. Though the announcement then was that the paper was transforming, it was widely accepted that paper was downsizing.
This is not strange. Since the turn of 2015, The Herald has retrenched, The Southern Eye has been all but virtually shut down, and The Zimbabwe Mail has been closed. It has been an especially torrid time for Newspapers in Zimbabwe, then again, it has been a torrid time for a lot of businesses.
The economy is slowly sliding down towards the calamitous situations of 2008. A lot of people cannot help but feel that, this is 2003-2005 all over again, the eye before the storm. Simply put, things are not well. All the gains of 2009-2010 era are being reversed, and the screws on Zimbabwe’s economy are being turned in.
Zanu PF’s economic blueprint, ZIMASSET is plausible on paper, but its implementation is still at ground zero. 2 years after “Bhora Mugedhi”, the nation still awaits, hopefully.
But that is not the focus of this particular article.
Constantine Chimakure is a gifted editor of serious pedigree. He is probably the only reason why I have become a columnist today. Granted, I was always a good analyst, and social thinker. But the opportunity to be recognised as a Columnist only came when the former decided to commission my articles in his National Newspaper.
On December 01, 2014, The Zimbabwe Mail ran my first article under my self-named column, ‘The Inconvenient Truth. It read, “Monster Maids: A Devil of Our Own Making”
The article expressed my deep concerns, and conviction that, though the actions of these inhumane maids who attack toddlers are sickening, we ought to look back at our systems in society, as they are ultimately the ones that create, nurture, and perpetuate these ‘monster maids’
That was the beginning of my romance with The Zimbabwe Mail. Three more articles would ‘hit the streets’.
- Madiba Legacy Exploited In Sa
- Sorry Morgan, You Are The Nonentity
- Mujuru: End Of An “Error”
Several articles were to be commissioned, until news broke that the Newspaper was being shut down.
Reflecting back on my time as a columnist for The Zimbabwe Mail, I look back at that time with fond memory, and pleasant satisfaction. It was an enjoyable tenure, a very enjoyable period.
The Mail, was probably Zimbabwe’s most credible newspaper. The Herald’s reality is tainted by their allegiance to The Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic-Front (Zanu PF). The Newsday, and Daily News, as all their sister like publications are sensationalist publications, dancing to the tune of their master – Morgan Tsvangirayi.
So the closure of the only unbiased publication will be a huge blow to the dynamic of media coverage in the country.
Not only that, The Zimbabwe Mail gave opportunities to otherwise untested players, like I, and many others. Its closure will mean once again, opportunities of having another me are reduced.
In its time, the publication surely created opportunities. In that vein, Minister Mpofu deserves applause, for creating employment.
There was always a belief that over time The Zimbabwe Mail would turn into a huge publication that it would become the Mail & Guardian of Zimbabwe.
Improbably, impossibly and inconsolably, time has run out, for the publication that always seemed to have time on its side. And as I reflect on my column there, a sense of gratitude to Constantine Chimakure, and his backers, for the wonderful opportunity overwhelms me.
I am sad, and deeply affected at, and by this. I will miss the deadlines, the amazing reaction of the readers, and the friendly staff and partners there.
So I say, Fair, Factual, Credible; So long The Zimbabwe Mail. And Thank you.
Maynard Kudakwashe Manyowa is an opinion writer and columnist for News 24 Zimbabwe Live. He ran a column in The Zimbabwe Mail until it was announced that it would be shut down today. You can reach him for feedback on firstname.lastname@example.org