Remembering Sandra Nyaira (1974-2021)

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The Shorenstein Center, along with her many friends and colleagues the world-over, are mourning the loss of Sandra Nyaira, legendary Zimbabwean journalist and 2008 Shorenstein Center Fellow, who passed away on July 13, 2021 after battling COVID-19.

Nyaira proved a formidable force wherever she went, serving as a correspondent for the BBC, UK Guardian, British Journalism Review, London Times, UK Times, AFP news agency, the Voice of America, and many others over the course of her career. At the age of 26, Nyaira became the first woman in Zimbabwe to take on a leadership role in the newsroom as the political editor for The Daily News. As an investigative reporter, she exposed the corruption of the Mugabe regime in a series of courageous and dogged reports that ultimately led to her arrest.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, who worked with Nyaira on the political desk at The Daily News, remembered Nyaira as a leader and “a robust, fearless, upright and professional journalist.”

After the government shut down her newspaper in 2003, Nyaira came to the United States and joined the reporting team at the Voice of America (VOA). During her tenure at VOA, Nyaira joined the Shorenstein Center as a visiting fellow, leaving a lasting impression on everyone that she met and worked with here. Her paper, “Mugabe’s Media War: How New Media Help Zimbabwean Journalists Tell Their Story,” analyzed efforts to keep Zimbabweans informed in the wake of the collapse of the country’s media landscape.

On behalf of all us here at the Shorenstein Center, we send our condolences to her family and friends and the countless others she influenced throughout her life and career.