via Thank you and good-bye – The Zimbabwean 28 October 2015 by Wilf Mbanga
After 11 years of publishing at least one issue of The Zimbabwean every week, we say thank you and good-bye to all our loyal readers.
You have stood with us through what has been a most amazing journey – from the early days in 2005 when the paper was printed in Johannesburg and a few thousand copies flown into Harare on Air Zimbabwe, to 2008 and 2013 when we trucked in 200,000 copies per week from our own printing press just south of the South African border.
In 2007 we were publishing three editions a week and trucking them through the Musina border post – until our truck was fire-bombed and punitive import duties imposed by the government brought us to our knees and saw the death of the Sunday and Tuesday editions.
We pay tribute to our loyal staff and columnists, most of who have been with us from the beginning through thick and thin. What a brave bunch they are. We salute them for their unwavering courage and loyalty in writing, editing and printing the newspaper week after week, year in and year out under very difficult circumstances.
We also wish to record our grateful thanks to the many donors from many different nations who provided the monetary support for us to be able to produce a paper in an economy characterised by fear – where advertisers were too afraid to support us.
The donors made it possible for us to supply news to impoverished rural communities who could not afford to pay for a copy – but who desperately needed access to independent, accurate information. Millions of “priceless” copies were distributed for free in the rural areas – thanks to a network of supportive NGOs and individuals who assisted with distribution to the furthest corners of the nation – often at great personal risk.
People’s right to know
We honour these donors for their commitment to freedom of expression and the people’s right to know. As a nation we have benefited enormously from their generosity. “The right to freedom of expression is not only important in its own right, but is also essential if other human rights are to be achieved.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We would also like to thank the hundreds of volunteers around the world who have supported us over the years with a wide range of specialist services –accounting, legal, administration, advertising, IT, etc – and the many individuals who contributed their time, effort and money to keeping us going financially, spiritually and emotionally.
To the chairmen, board members and trustees of the Trust and our holding company we owe a debt of enormous gratitude for their courage in taking on this role in the face of possible personal danger and their commitment to the cause of press freedom.
But this is not the end of the road for The Zimbabwean ! We will continue to publish independent quality news and analysis on our website. We plan to develop and expand the site into a community information sharing platform – to which all Zimbabweans will be invited to submit their multi-media news and views.
It is envisaged that the website will become a vibrant on-line community where Zimbabweans can tell their stories, discuss their issues, share successes and use their right to freedom of expression to help build the Zimbabwe we all want. I’d like to pay tribute to my lovely wife Trish for her love and support throughout this journey and her incredibly hard work. She always believed in me and shared my vision and my passion for this newspaper.