Diary of a life in the minefield

After having been caressed by an editor at the Sunday Mail while filling in forms for employment, Grace Mutandwa says she was uncertain of what to do next.

Grace Mutandwa
Grace Mutandwa

The editor had insisted she brought back the forms to him but she instead dropped them at the management’s offices.

This is revealed in Mutandwa’s recently published memoirs launched in Harare recently. Mutandwa entered the newsroom in 1984 as a student from the Harare Polytechnic.

“Like all of us, we envisage better newsrooms and making big differences, yet it’s not going to be on a silver platter, one needs to pay a price for it,” she said of her experiences in and out of the newsroom in her book “The power and the glory.”

“When you walk in the newsroom on your first day you are a major dreamer. You think you will stumble on a major scoop and your name will be made forever,” she said.

Mutandwa was the only woman in the Sunday News room. It was taboo to talk about sexual harassment then.

Had it not been for Mtandwa’s brother, Andrew, the ordeal could have marked a dead end to her career.

“The following Tuesday I had the most embarrassing moment of my life – walking in to the Sunday Mail editor’s office with my furious brother in tow. I wished I could just die, melt or disappear,” said Mtandwa.

The brother issued a strong warning – and Grace was offered the job.

“That day I endured an embarrassing entrance into the newsroom but it opened doors for me,” said Mtandwa.

Mtandwa, now columnist for the Standard, has previously worked for the Sunday Mail, Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe Inter Africa News Agency (ZIANA), and Inter Press Services (IPS) and as head of Press and Public Affairs at the British Embassy.

“As a woman you need to make sure no one steps on you even on your grave”, she told an audience at the launch of her memoirs at the scribe’s drinking hall in Harare, the Quill Club.

She believes in the media you do the job for the love of it as remuneration is hardly impressive. “You will find satisfaction in the hope that your work will make a difference – light a small candle that might one day light several other candles,” Mutandwa said.

Post published in: News

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