There was an outpouring of grief from journalists and civic groups as they battled to come to terms with the death of veteran journalist, former editor of the Standard and the Herald newspapers, Bornwell Kidson Chakaodza (60), who succumbed to bowel cancer early yesterday.
Chakaodza died at a private clinic where he had been admitted on Monday night after battling the disease since 2008.
His widow Emma told NewsDay: He died early this morning (yesterday) at Avenues Clinic where he had been admitted since Monday night.
He has been in and out of hospital battling cancer and had undergone three chemotherapy sessions and was supposed to go for the fourth stage. He has been quite a survivor and continued with his work despite the challenges.
His death came hardly a month after the passing-on of other experienced journalists such as ZBCs Freedom Moyo, Paul Mutangadura, and former Chronicle editor Makuwerere Bwititi.
Condolence messages came from his colleagues in the media fraternity, former students, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu and United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray, among many others.
Alpha Media Holdings Associate Editor Iden Wetherell said: Bornwell was a good friend and colleague who was resolute in defence of Press freedom.
I first met Bornwell when he was Director of Information. He came into our newsroom at the Zimbabwe Independent to say that he suspected we were the authors of Letters to the Editor carried in the paper.
In later years we always had a good laugh over that because as Director of Information he soon became one of our most active contributors of Letters to the Editor.
Both during his spell as director and later as editor of The Herald, he invariably proved a thoughtful and reasonable protagonist. When his position at The Herald became untenable we found nothing inconsistent about him joining us as editor of The Standard. He had come that far.
On his watch the readership of The Standard increased significantly. And Bornwell proved a diligent and visceral writer. Even after he moved on to other precincts, his work was followed carefully by other writers and readers at large.
His column at the Financial Gazette was a must-read, always engaging and well-crafted. He kept up his contributions until recent weeks when he could go on no longer.
Bornwell played an important role in the fight for Press freedom. He was a founder of Zinef, the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, and later he joined the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe.
Bornwell was a good friend and ally when his support was needed. And his laugh was infectious. I shall miss a colleague and friend.
NewsDay Assistant Editor Wisdom Mdzungairi said: I have lost a brother and instructor. I first met Chakaodza in the 90s as a lecturer, government spokesperson and Herald editor. I was impressed by his simplicity and mentorship.
The most devastating thing is I was with him only last week discussing various issues. He had remained a brother despite his wealth of experience.
Takura Zhangazha, Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) executive director, where Chakaodza was a vice-board chairman and a member of the media complaints committee which adjudicates complaints against the media, said it was a tragic loss to both journalism and the nation as at large.
AMH Group Editor-in-Chief Vincent Kahiya said: The death is a sad loss to the profession. I knew Bornwell in various capacities from the time he was my lecturer at college, at the Ministry of Information, as a fellow trainer of journalists and workmate when he was editor of The Standard.
He had a unique advantage of combining great analytical skills wrought from his academic background and hard-nosed journalism which made him an invaluable resource to media studies students.
Davison Maruziva, a colleague who worked closely with Chakaodza said: BC (as Chakaodza was affectionately known) was someone who took his time to digest issues, but never shied away from making his views known.
For this, we are eternally grateful for the immense role he played in contributing to the process of professionalising the media. He was respected for this enormous contribution.
I was fortunate to have worked with BC as his deputy at Zimpapers during the late 1990s and later from 2004 up to 2006 in the same capacity at The Standard.
We also sat together on the board of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, where he worked very hard with the secretariat to sell the significance of the concept to media practitioners in the country.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists sent its condolences to the family.
US ambassador Ray said: The Zimbabwean journalistic fraternity has lost one of its greatest members with the untimely passing of Bornwell Chakaodza. May his soul rest in peace.
In 1993, Chakaodza was appointed Director of Information in the then Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications where he was also government spokesperson.
In 1998, he was seconded to the State-controlled Herald as editor before being appointed managing director of Zimpapers newspaper division. He then became editor of The Standard in 2002, taking over from Mark Chavunduka.
At the time of his death, the veteran journalist was working as a media consultant and columnist for various publications locally and internationally.
Mourners are gathered at 82 Goodrington Drive, Bluffhill, where a church service will be held at 2pm today. Chakaodza will be buried in Guruve tomorrow.