WASHINGTON D.C. —
Thank you and good bye!
That's the headline that graced The Zimbabwean’s last print edition Wednesday as the weekly newspaper stopped publishing due to financial and operational challenges.
Founded by veteran journalist Wilf Mbanga in 2005, the newspaper became one of the leading independent voices in Zimbabwe, winning the hearts of folks especially in the rural areas, where copies were being distributed free of charge.
But as political temperatures soared, The Zimbabwean increasingly became a target of the government and had its reporters harassed on several occasions.
“It’s like losing your child. This was our passion, this was our vision. It has been our life for the past 11 years. It is something that we loved doing," Zimbabwean Editor, Wilf Mbanga, said.
"It has been a long and tortuous road with many highs and lows. We have reported our nation’s darkest hours and also some wonderful stories of human courage and endeavor in the face of enormous difficulty and suffering.”
The newspaper and its staff have suffered over the years for their unwavering dedication to freedom of expression and access to information for all Zimbabweans.
In 2008, a truck carrying 60, 000 copies of the newspaper was burned down by suspected state or ruling party operatives.
The financial toll incurred from that loss was too much for the paper, says founder Mbanga, who adds the good news though is that they will continue publishing The Zimbabwean on line.
“The management and staff take pride and satisfaction in knowing that we made a stand for freedom of expression when it was under serious threat in our nation,” he said.
“We were part of an important effort to bring good governance to Zimbabwe, to record the appalling human rights abuses committed by those in authority and to make a difference at an extremely difficult time in our history.”