Tendai Linda Gumbo
Community Voices Zimbabwe (CVZ) reporters Simbarashe Fenton M and Emmanuel Mhike scooped pole position Awards at the Inaugural edition of the prestigious Midlands Media Awards (MMA) held in Gweru recently.
In an interview with this reporter, CVZ Director and Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) Vice Chairperson, Commissioner Jasper Maposa could not hide his joy as he credited hard work, team work and professionalism as the contributing factors which led to the success of the journalists and the organization at large.
“I am elated beyond measure to witness part of our staff winning the most coveted provincial journalistic Awards. This is no vain testimony that our organization espouses professional and ethical principles of the profession. Undoubtedly, the awards will spur us to continue improving.
The reporters have taken the organization to another level because of their unparalleled commitment to duty. Ultimately, it is the society that benefits,” said Maposa.
The ceremony was running under the theme, Journalism Excellence for Community Development, saw journalists from the whole province in contesting in 11 categories that includes, Municipal Reporter of the Year, Mining Reporter of the Year, Business Reporter of the Year, Crime and Sorts reporter of the Year, Rural Community development Reporter of the Year, Health Reporter of the Year, Environmental Reporter of the Year, Political and Investigative Reporter of the Year Award .
Willie Mponda, Chairperson of the MMA while giving welcoming remarks on behalf of the organizing committee said, “the inaugural MMA are a recognition of excellence, passion and unique reporting of issues happening in the Midlands province…”
Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, stifling national lockdowns and continued economic woes grappling the country, CVZ journalists and organization at large continued to exhibit professional conduct, a rare dedication of serving the communities, the marginalized as every Zimbabwean is entitled the right to access of information.
“They (CVZ journalists) are awake to the developmental and democratic functions of the media. In that regard they set the eyes on their target and here we are celebrating excellence. Life has not been easy not only for our institution and journalists but the media profession in general but when your work transforms the society, you get that inspiration,” Maposa stated.
Zvishavane based, Arts Culture, Media and Development practitioner Emmanuel Hove Mhike, popularly known as the ‘Prince of Mazvihwa’ who is also a reporter with CVZ scooped the Arts and Entertainment reporter of the Year Award dedicated the award to commitment as the measure without substitute to success.
“It is really phenomenal and everyone wants to be a winner. I feel honored and humbled to receive this award as hard work usually doesn’t pay instantly but one day is one day. The secret has been and will be commitment, focus and dedication to not just reporting but research as well. I always thrive in difficult conditions because as a community development worker I have been trained in resilience mechanisms. I always research for innovations and innovators who besides various constrains are doing well,” said Mhike.
The celebratory and happy sentiments were also shared by the energetic, hardworking Redcliff based journalist and content creator Simbarashe M Fenton, Outstanding Municipal Reporter of the Year Award winner who pin pointed passion, team work and dedication as the main contributor to the celebrated success.
“It has been a very difficult year for me personally but I never gave up working hard because I believe it is not for me but for the community. I think as a team we have and we will always try to bring desired change. I am so happy and grateful and we will not stop working hard. It is the only way for a better society. I promise myself and the organization that I will always put the community’s interests at heart no matter the difficulties. It is our duty as the fourth estate to inform and educate our audience,” he said.
Community Voices Zimbabwe is an organization that is committed to the sustenance of robust debates among various groups, informing and representing the marginalized voices towards the promotion of participatory democracy and inclusive development in the Midlands province and the greater Zimbabwe at Large.