8 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Machirori Honoured

FORMER Financial Gazette deputy editor-in-chief Edna Machirori was recently awarded the 2013 International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) Lifetime Achievement Award, after working in pre and post colonial Zimbabwe as a journalist for 50 years. Machirori became the first black woman in Zimbabwe to be appointed news editor of a mainstream newspaper and subsequently the first black woman to edit a mainstream weekly newspaper. She has acted as a mentor to other women throughout her career.

An ecstatic Machirori said when she joined the newsroom in 1963 it was a completely different environment for black journalists and women in particular.

"It was a double-edged disadvantage for a woman simply because I was a woman and because of the colonial system. It was tough but it was good for me though it was a long journey for I only got to be promoted to be news editor in 1988 and I was the first black woman editor at The Chronicle," Machirori said.

In 2000, Machirori joined The Financial Gazette as features editor and was later promoted to the position deputy editor-in-chief, a position she held until her departure from the pink paper.

"As a woman, I faced a lot of prejudice because in the newsroom women are the minority though they are the majority; 52 percent of the population and it is not fair that journalism, even in the 21st century it is regarded as a 'men's world', this needs to change," she added.

According to the IWMF: As one of the first women in Zimbabwean media and as the first black female editor of a newspaper in Zimbabwe, Machirori represented unprecedented achievement for women finding their place in a post-colonial landscape.

Machirori started her work in journalism in 1963 as a cadet reporter for the African Daily News, a nationalist newspaper based in Harare (then Salisbury, under colonial rule), after sending the paper "letters to the editor" while she was in high school.

During her early years with the African Daily News, Machirori was the only woman on the staff at any level. Later, she occupied editing positions at The Chronicle and The Financial Gazette.

Although she has retired, Machirori said she was still a journalist and will continue to write articles on developmental issues.

IWMF was established in 1990 by a group of prominent United States women journalists and it is a Washington-based organisation dedicated to strengthening the role of women journalists worldwide.

Machirori is currently a board member at the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, where she was seconded by The Financial Gazette. She is also a columnist for The Daily News and also sits on the committee of the Federation of African Media Women in Zimbabwe.

Machirori is the second IWMF Lifetime Achievement Award winner from Zim-babwe, following Peta Thornycroft who won the award in 2007.

In 2002, another Zimbabwean journalist Sandra Nyaira won the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award. -- Staff Reporter

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