Here at ELLE we love it when women in media get recognised for their achievements. That's why we're full of praise for Edna Machirori, the first black female newspaper editor in Zimbabwe. Last week she was honoured with the International Women’s Media Foundation’s (IWMF) Courage in Journalism and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Founded in 1990, the IWMF believes in supporting the representation of women as equal voices in the media. The foundation celebrates the courage of female journalists who have overcome threats and oppression to speak out on global issues.
Edna Machirori now writes for Zimbabwe’s The Daily News as a freelance journalist and columnist about development, corruption and social issues. The paper was once banned by Zimbabwean authorities for refusing to register with a government-appointed media commission.
This year’s winners’ list included journalists and photographers from countries like Afghanistan, Syria and Cambodia. The award honours female journalists who have shown ‘extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under dangerous or difficult circumstances’.
As a female journalist in post-colonial Zimbabwe, Machirori started her career in 1963 and progressed through the ranks at a number of different broad sheets despite the male-dominant culture she was surrounded by. She continued to be the only woman at any level of the publications she wrote for and eventually took the editing positions at The Chronicle and The Financial Gazette.
In 1988, when she was the news editor at The Chronicle, the newspaper published ‘The Willowgate Scandal’ – an investigation into corruption by high-level members of the ruling ZANU-PF party. She has often been criticised by members of the party for her writing on politics, but continues working to challenge the official line on important issues.
Machirori sits on the board of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe and the jury of the Federation of African Media Women in Zimbabwe. In receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, Machirori is being honoured for her pioneering spirit and determination in paving the way for women in news media.