NewsDay | Friday December 17 2021

Cheers to more years of advocacy


T seems like yesterday, but when
I did the calculations, I realised it’s
exactly 11 years ago when I was recruited as an intern.
Eleven years ago, you were just 14
years old. Some would have called you
a teenager in human metaphorical
terms, but with the nature of the burden you carried even at that age, you
would have been mistakenly labelled
as an adult.
This year you turned 25, having been
conceived as a Trust on 27 August
1995, growing into a fully-fledged secretariat by August 1997. Today you are
celebrating your 25th anniversary following the establishment of the secretariat in 1996.
Congratulations MISA Zimbabwe.
Indeed time flies.
This has been a journey with trials
and tribulations.
Arrests, detentions, harassments (of
journalists and media workers), the list
goes on, as part and parcel of that expedition. Indeed, when history is written about the heroes who fought to
have media pluralism, diversity, and independence, freedom of expression in
Zimbabwe, your name shall be in the
As you celebrate your 25th anniversary, take encouragement in the
gains achieved so far. It is common
knowledge that the journey has been
through a thorny path. From the days
of POSA (Public Order and Security Act)

David Makacha during MISA Zimbabwe internship in 2010
to AIPPA (Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act), the whole
tide was against you.
Yet you fought tooth and nail to
have media pluralism and diversity. You
stood by your values - to promote free
speech, equality, diversity, participation, accountability, responsibility and
fairness. As mentioned earlier, media
diversity, pluralism and independence
are not a static destination, but a continuous process that constantly needs
checks and balances.
Today we take pride in that the nation is poised to have at least more than
one (television) broadcaster, following

From an average
student to upper
class and distinctions


HE year was 2012, when
I had to undergo compulsory internship as
part of my undergraduate degree studies.
I remember how I settled for a
media degree simply because my
parents had insisted that it was
time I went back to school after
two years at work, which was initially meant to have been just a
gap year.
My thought process around
studying Media and Society
Studies at Midlands State University was that I would be confined in a newsroom, reading the
8pm news each evening on the
state broadcaster.
I stepped into the MISA Zimbabwe offices in Harare in March
2012, to begin a new chapter in
my life. Unmotivated by the field
of study, but excited about working for an organisation that was
clearly one of the ‘big brothers’
in the media fraternity.
I remember how some of my
classmates had been green with
envy at the opportunity that lay
before me. It was after a message from the best student in my
former class, that I then made a
conscious decision that I had to
make the most of my one-year
stint with the organisation.
My one-year stint at MISA
Zimbabwe can best be explained
by a glance at my academic transcript. From a mere average student whose grades in the first
and second year were a mere
means to progress to the next
stage, I evolved into an A class
student with upper first class
and distinction grades from the
time I began my internship.
Not only did my grades im-

Lynette Dube
prove from that year, but I also
met the most amazing colleagues
who later became family. My supervisor Koliwe Majama was
tough, but helped me discover
that I could enjoy my studies and
internship whilst making a positive change in communities.
My perspective of the media
landscape literally changed because of her. She would not tolerate any slacking. I remember how
I initially thought she was just a
difficult person to work with, but
when I went out and started networking more, I got perspective
on why she would constantly expect the best.
I understood that the environment sometimes demands that
we put in extra work, if we are
to have any real positive impact.
When days were hardest, Annie
Musodza - best known by all the
interns as 'Madam', was literally a mother. She was a pillar of
To this day, I always wonder
how she could be that strong for
herself and the hundreds of other
interns that passed through her
To page M8

the granting of television licenses to
private players. We hope they will be
on air soon. Most importantly, licenses
have been issued to community radios, to complete the three-tier system of
broadcasting that you and the general
public have been clamouring for.
We look forward to listening to
Ntepe, Nyangani, Vemuganga, Matobo, to mention a few (of the community radio stations) broadcast for their
local communities. Today, we at least
celebrate that we have a Constitution
that guarantees freedom of expression. All these notable achievements,
in my view, would not have been possi-

ble without MISA’s advocacy interventions.
We are not there yet. A lot still needs
to be done. Media polarisation remains
a big challenge that you need to work
on. Perhaps we have a bit of pluralism and without diversity. The fight is
a continuous process. Media diversity, pluralism and independence is not
a destination, but a continuous process requiring constant maintenance,
checks and balances.
As you celebrate your anniversary, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the internship opportunity. It was at MISA that my first
newspaper article was published in the
Standard's Sunday View Column.
What a glorious Sunday it was. It was
at MISA that I gained the confidence
to write articles worthy of publishing
in newspapers. It is at MISA Zimbabwe
that I learnt the importance of expressing an opinion.
One of the officers used to tell me
that whether people agree or not,
whether your opinion is judged right
or wrong, the most important thing is
to have your opinion heard.
Today, I am a father. I still cherish my
internship moments at MISA. The field
events and community meetings were
some of my best moments. That experience inspired me to pursue development studies which I am currently
Thank you MISA-Zimbabwe!
Keep on offering interns opportunities to gain practical experience and


the chance to showcase their talents as
you did to me. With more television stations and community radios coming,
it also means more professional media
practitioners are required.
The onus is on you to train responsible
journalists to supplement training from
colleges and universities. We are looking forward to seeing vibrant community newspapers, community radios and
TV stations in Zimbabwe. Our dream for
Zimbabwe with free media, diverse, plural and independent media lives on. No
time to sleep on duty.
Cheers to more years of advocacy, information dissemination and digital
transformation campaigns. Once again,
congratulations on your 25th anniversary.
David Makacha is a former intern with
MISA Zimbabwe and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Development Studies in Belgium.

Select target paragraph3