AFRICA MIRROR REPORTER
TRIBUTES have poured in for legendary Zimbabwean journalist Foster Dongozi who has passed on after a short illness.
Journalists, editors and media organisations throughout Africa have paid warm tributes to Dongozi, who was secretary-general of the Zimbabwean Union of Journalists (ZUJ).
The African Editors Forum said: “The African Editors Forum dips its banners to mourn Foster, a media freedom activist who dedicated his life to the cause. We send our condolences and wish strength to his family and the entire Zimbabwean media industry. The media freedom spear has fallen, let’s pick it up!! May Foster’s soul rest in eternal peace.”
The Ghana Journalists Association extended its deepest condolences to Dongozi’s family and the ZUJ.
The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), a network of nine media support and professional organizations, said Dongozi, a president of the Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA), had been an influential member of the Alliance.
In a statement, the MAZ said: “Dongozi is among a crop of journalists that professionally served the media, particularly in the print sector where he served in various capacities at the Chronicle, the Daily News and the Standard. He was extremely passionate about the conditions of service for the sector. Dongozi was among the campaigners for the establishment of a National Employment Council for journalists and a critical voice in the calls for the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the inclusion of journalistic rights in Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
“It was through his contribution within the Alliance that there have been notable steps towards realising media freedom in the country, including the expanded Bill of Rights in the country’s Constitution, the opening up of the broadcasting sector and most recently the repeal of AIPPA. Although Zimbabwe still has undemocratic media legislation within it’s statutes and the operating environment inhibitive to the enjoyment of journalistic rights, there are some notable changes that are a result of the work put in by development practitioners like Dongozi and many others.
“Dongozi was passionate about gender inclusivity and ensuring a safe operating environment for men and women. To this end, he was among the leaders of a campaign against sexual harassment in the media in a project that was jointly implemented by the Gender and Media Connect GMC and ZUJ.”
The organisation said Dongozi leaves behind a rich legacy of empowerment and providing incentives for journalists.
He was among the leaders of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), an institution he served in various capacities and had recently been appointed to the board of the Congress of African Journalists. The MAZ said Dongozi also served within the International Federation of Journalists and was among a crop of journalists that worked around providing safety mechanisms for journalists operating in high risk areas.