Josey Mahachi, a Zimbabwean-born journalist serving with the German Broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), has won the 2023 edition of Africa Women Impact Multi-media Journalist of the Year.
She was bestowed the certificate of honor for the award after emerging top among several nominees.
The world-class journalist, whose interest cuts across media entrepreneurship, digital journalism, African politics and social issues, was singled out for recognition because of the impact her work has created on the continent’s media landscape.
Talking to MMI shortly after receiving her award, Josey Mahachi said it is “a dream come true.”
“I feel humbled and honored especially with the fact that we do our work daily but never know who is watching or following. I was shocked when I received a letter saying that I was nominated for this award and that they are people who are following my work and feel that I deserve this. It is the greatest honor for me this 2023 that my work is being recognized not only in Germany where I work, but across the continent,” Josey told MMI in an exclusive interview.
The award winning journalist noted that the recognition is her greatest motivation as she strives for the best in the profession where press censorship and attacks on the media and journalists are rife.
“It makes me want to do more and push myself ahead. It is my second award, and it is the first in journalism. My first award was a recognition from Zimbabwe Investment Authority in 2015,” she went on.
With over ten years of experience in the media, Josey revealed that the profession is not for the faint-hearted.
According to her, the passion for journalism “turned my difficult moments into glories.”
“Journalism is a very challenging profession in the sense that you create a lot of enemies. You always have to be careful with what, how and when you say it. We are always seen as bad people, enemies, and trouble makers. But we are very important people. It is just a pity that not everybody realises how important we are,” said the award winning journalist.
Not all gloomy!
With many challenges faced by the media landscape across Africa, Josey, however, said she is happy being the mouth-piece of the people. “Journalism is fun. I mean, I enjoy doing it. So far, so good. I see myself not quitting any time soon,” she told MMI, maintaining that no amount of censorship can make her quit.
In 2022, her home country, Zimbabwe, was ranked among the world’s three countries with the most restrictive social media policies. The move has been a huge blow and restriction on the country’s media professionals. Even those outside the country are scared to report freely.
The country also failed to have a pass-mark, when it comes to freedom of speech and the media. Engaged and independent reporters like Josey Mahachi are hardly in the good books of the government.
But Josey is not discouraged. She told MMI that she still has a lot of support back home from those who love and appreciate her job “and that has kept me going,” she said.
“My people in Zimbabwe are very proud of me. I always get messages from alot of them encouraging me to do more. They are proud of where I am and how everyday I am becoming a better person…I will never forget where I come from. I always want to make sure that wherever I am my roots, my country, my motherland is represented in every way. I work where I am impacting the society where I come from,” she explained.
She went on to encourage professionals to remain steadfast. “Do what you do because of your passion. That passion will keep you going. Also learn to love yourself. It is good to look at other people as models but before you want put yourself in the mirror and locate Josey Mahachi, I want you to look into the mirror and locate yourself first. Discover yourself. The sky is never your limit,” she adviced.
‘I am not alone’
Josey Mahachi stunned the reporter with a question that was never envisaged. “I thought you would ask who my model is,” she said laughing.
She went on to say that Mimi Mefo Takambou who is the founder and promoter of popular news site Mimi Mefo Info (MMI) is her model.
“Mimi Mefo is a model. She has been with me since I started with DW. I have seen her work even in times when she gave birth. I remember just after giving birth she went to cover the EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, Belgium,” she said, adding that, “Looking at such a woman is something that makes me know that we are in the right direction as women in this profession.”
“She is my model. She never knew this,” Josey remarked with smiles.
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About a media guru
40-year-old Josey Mahachi, hails from Zimbabwe, situated in Southern Africa. She is a media practitioner, investment consultant, businesswoman, and host/presenter of a television show.
She is passionate about the vast African continent and its diverse cultures and she is eager to share this richness with the world. She also wants to shape the African narrative. In 2009 she created Click Africa, a television show that showcases the pride of Africa and broadcasts across the continent.
Josey in a chat with Africa’s most renowned investor and philantropist, Tony O. Elumelu
Through Click Africa, she has hosted African leaders such as the late President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, Jerry Rawlings, former President of Ghana, Muhammad Buhari, ex-President of Nigeria, the President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera and high profile business executives as well as ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things.
Using her vast network across the continent, Josey also facilitated the travel of Aliko Dangote and Tony Elumelu to Zimbabwe for investment opportunities.
In recognition of her stellar efforts, the Government of Zimbabwe appointed her a Non-Executive Board Member of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority from October 2015 to May 2018. She also ran for Member of Parliament during the 2018 harmonised elections primaries and did not make it. She is also a Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI) 2017.
Her interest is in media entrepreneurship, digital journalism and African social issues so she left Zimbabwe in December 2018 to join Germany’s International Public Broadcaster Deutsche Welle where she is currently a freelance multimedia journalist in the English for Africa Department.
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She also runs her news website, Josey News Network as well as her YouTube channel, Live Chat with Josey. Her media work is Africa-focused, covering stories on human rights, developmental stories, women exploitation, politics, etc in Africa. The latter has over 10 years of experience in communication management.
Through her work, Josephine’s greatest ambition is to make a positive impact on the way media functions in Africa and to promote the economic empowerment of marginalized groups.
She is now pioneering a powerful organisation aimed at empowering and inspiring the next generation of female African leaders and entrepreneurs, called, MAMBOKADZI. “I will tell you more about Mambokadzi when the project is officially unveiled,” she told MMI. Mambokadzi is Shona word for Queen.
Josey Mahachi with German’s Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Katja Keul — celebrating Africa Day and AU@60