How To Be A Zimbabwean Journalist

Newspapers are held down by rocks to stop them blowing away at a news stand in Harare. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Or, An Anecdotally-Accumulated Anthology of Obligatory Adjectives

To be a journalist (sorry, scribe) in Zimbabwe, there is a certain parlance one is expected to master.

The layman can easily pick up this language and its markers just by reading all the different newspapers, and fingering the common terms used to describe certain things.

But for those with better shit to do, here are a few pointers.


See, the National Sports Stadium can not be anything BUT giant. It does seat anything from 65,000 on the football scale to 120,000 on the prophet scale, so it all depends on who is doing the estimating. Whatever the true figure, the NSS dominates the landscape around it, including the Chinese mall in the neighbouring swamp, so yes, it is a giant.

For a bonus point, you can also refer to it as the ‘Chinese-built’ National Sports Stadium.

Also, Dynamos Football Club have to be referred to as the ‘Harare giants’ every time, usually at least thrice in any report.

Eg. Giant national sports stadium | Harare giants | Chinese-built


Wanna talk about the Zambezi River? Well damn, it has to be mighty! Whatever the story is, whether it’s a tourism fluff piece, or a rare complaint about the treatment of riverside communities, you can NOT possibly describe our mighty river as anything but mighty!

Eg. Mighty Zambezi


I caught a bit of flak the other day, for calling the Victoria Falls “nothing more than a wall of falling water.” Anyone who has ever said “Zambia’s Victoria Falls” will testify that one simply does not feck with Zimbabwe’s Wonder of the World, the Majestic Victoria Falls and come through unscathed.

Eg. Majestic Victoria Falls


This is pretty obvious, but if you didn’t know, now you know. Any opposition to ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe has obviously got to be the Western-sponsored machinations of counter-revolutionary elements bent on reversing the gains of our hard-won independence through a regime-change aenda. These elements are, as always, sponsored by neo-Imperialists in the West.

Eg. Western-sponsored opposition


Sanctions? Well, they are illegal, of course. If you work for State television, or ANY of the radio stations (including the so-called independent ones which aren’t fooling anydamnbody) then there are no legal sanctions. In fact, the sanctions remain illegal, even after a European court challenge to declare the sanctions illegal was thrown out.

Eg. Illegal sanctions


Has the price of fuel gone up? Has import duty been increased? Has the cost of production gone up? Well, none of that matters – anyone who increases their prices is an unscrupulous retailer / dealer / businessman, and a profiteering opportunist. Obviously. feck policy.

Eg. Unscrupulous retailers

Dusty streets

… of Mbare / Dangamvura / Luveve / Masvingo / anywhere. Are you an artist who has launched a new album or is going on an overseas tour? Are you a promising young pace bowler, who has just broken into the national ODI side? Or maybe you are Peter Ndlovu, the first African to play in the English Premier League. It doesn’t matter – the dusty streets will follow you wherever you go. The journalist gets bonus points if you “hail” from said dusty streets.

Eg. Dusty streets

And there you go. This is by no means exhaustive, but just a little taste of what you should look out for when you read the Zimbabwean press.

Now let me return to being a “desperate homeseeker” and deal with the “city fathers” of the “Sunshine City” who probably belong to a putschist cabal.

Good day.

Image: AP Photo / Ben Curtis

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