Tsvangirai, Media Mourn Veteran Journalist Bornwell Chakaodza

Speaking through his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka on Wednesday, Tsvangirai said the late former Director of Information in the Information Ministry epitomised “real journalism”.

“He stood for the ethics of the profession,” he said, “He guarded jealously the issue of press freedom. He was an advocate of multi-media voices in the country. The country is all the poorer without him.”

Chakaodza wrote in his weekly column in the Financial Gazette last week in defence of the sale of Tsvangirai’s book, At the Deep End, following the arrest of a Victoria Falls book seller who was accused of selling the memoirs.

Chakaodza penned the column from his hospital bed.

Media based groups also expressed shock at Chakaodza’s death.

“This is saddening. It is a great loss to the journalist fraternity. He was a veteran, sane and sensible columnist,” said Andy Moyse, Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) director.

Similarly, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) also said it was saddened by the news.

“He has left a void that will be difficult to fill as he was a rare breed of journalist who was able to interact with people from different generations and media backgrounds,” ZUJ secretary general Foster Dongozi said in a press statement.

“Chakaodza will also be missed for bringing laughter and comic relief to any conversation he engaged in, as he was fond of regaling his audiences with humorous tales.”

MISA-Zimbabwe National Chairperson Njabulo Ncube said:  “We are very shocked and saddened by his death as it robs the media profession and communications industry of a man with vast and invaluable experience.”

In a statement, MISA-Zimbabwe described the late Chakaodza as “witty and with a great sense of humour”.

“Borncha ,as he was otherwise known, pulled no punches in his critical and objective critiques and commentaries on the state of Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and political wellbeing,” read the MISA statement.

“He was open to criticism and ever willing to share his vast media experience with upcoming Zimbabwean journalists.”

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) executive secretary Takura Zhangazha said VMCZ was shocked by the death of its deputy board chairman.

“He will be sorely missed by all in the journalism field and we pray that the comforting spirit of the Lord be with his family and friends during this difficult time,” said Zhangazha.

Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) board chairman Godfrey Majonga added his voice on the loss of Chakaodza.

“As ZMC, we are very saddened by his passing on,” said Majonga, “I have interacted with him as VMCZ vice chair where we found common ground,” said Majonga.

“I am sure journalists in the fraternity are as saddened as I am. Our condolences go to his family and friends in the media fraternity.”

Chakaodza started his professional working life as a teacher at Thekwani High School in Plumtree, between 1975 and 1977, he then became a Political Reporter with the then Rhodesia Herald, now the Herald.

He later became the deputy editor of the Hansard from 1982 to 1984.

He was a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Zimbabwe.

Between 1993 and 1997 he was appointed the Director of Information in the Ministry of Information before taking up a post as the editor of the Herald, a position he held for two years before he was appointed Managing Director of Zimbabwe Newspapers.

In 2002 he was appointed Editor of The Standard, a position he held before he left the mainstream media.

Chakaodza wrote extensively on media, development studies and health matters and has lectured journalism at the Division of Mass Communication Harare Polytechnic and Christian College of the Southern Africa (CCOSA).

He graduated with a BA degree and Certificate in Education, Diploma in Journalism from the then University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland an MA and M. Phil degrees from the University of York in England in 1982.

Mourners are gathered at 82 Goodrington Drive in Bluffhill, Harare. By the end of business on Wednesday, his funeral arrangements were still to be finalised.