Zimbabwe’s Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, says the late former VOA Studio 7 staffer, Sandra Nyaira, was a hardworking journalist and inspirational scribe.
Nyaira was laid to rest Saturday at Warren Hills Cemetery in Harare.
In an interview, Mutsvangwa said, “I learnt with shock and sadness the death of one of Zimbabwe’s female pioneers in the media sector Sandra Nyaira. I knew Sandra personally. Nyaira joined the journalism profession at a time when few women dared or dreamt to … Her illustrious career which spanned over 20 years encompassed spells at the Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency, Ziana, and The Daily News that was before she moved to the United States. At the time of her passing, Nyaira was flying the Zimbabwe flag high as the communications and publications officer at the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa in Ethiopia.”
Speaking about what Zimbabwean women can learn from Nyaira’s legacy, Mutsvangwa said, “I do want the women of this country to take Nyaira’s legacy forward. The legacy is that of a hardworking trailblazer who executed her duties in a professional yet warm manner.
“She will forever act in history for being the first women in Zimbabwe to take a leadership role in the newsroom and that started when she was very young, 26 years. She is a true mentor and I must say as a country we have lost a remarkable example of how women are equal to any task given to them especially in the media fraternity.”
She said Zimbabwe has lost a journalist dedicated to her profession and serving the southern African nation.
“This loss is not their loss alone but as a country we have lost as womenfolk we have lost a lot and as we go through this grief let’s continue to remind each other that COVID is here with us. We need to take the precautionary and preventive measures very seriously. Let’s continue to sanitize our hands, let’s continue to don our masks properly and let’s observe social distancing.
In a statement, the Voice of America’s Zimbabwe Service expressed shock over Nyaira’s death.
“Sandra was a valued member of the VOA Zimbabwe Service team since 2003 when she joined as a stringer reporting from London. She joined the Washington team in 2009 as reporter and host, bringing a lot of star power to the service. During her time in Washington she also hosted special segments on women and health and was a member of the VOA Africa Health Network team. She rose through the ranks to become editor of the English desk.”
Nyaira left the Zimbabwe Service in 2015 to work for the United Nations in Ethiopia.
She was the first recipient from Zimbabwe to receive the Courage in Journalism Award in 2002 sponsored by the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation.
Before joining the Zimbabwe Service, Sandra worked in Zimbabwe for Community Newspapers Group, Zimbabwe Inter Africa News Agency and The Daily News, where she became the first woman political desk editor.