Geoffrey Nyarota Biography

Geoffrey Nyarota is a Zimbabwean journalist and human rights activist born in 1951 who began as a teacher before starting a career in journalism.

Geoffrey Nyarota biography
Geoffrey Nyarota history

While working as editor for the state-run newspaper, The Bulawayo Chronicle, brave Nyarota helped to expose the “Willowgate” scandal, which implicated many top government officials of corruption in dealings with illegal car sales in 1989.

The exposure saw many cabinet members resigning from office.

Among the implicated was then senior minister for political affairs and administrative secretary, Maurice Nyagumbo, who committed suicide by taking rat poison. He was the third highest-ranking official in Mugabe’s party

If only he knew how the country would later become much more corrupt and with more serious corruption from officials and no arrests.

When Nyarota was subsequently removed from his post, he left the country and taught in exile for many years.

Geoffrey Nyarota and The Daily News

He returned to the country and became founding editor-in-chief of The Daily News, an independent press in 1999.

At the time, a serious challenge (MDC) to the ruling party ZANU PF’s dominance in Zimbabwean politics had begun, and the Daily News became very popular for its voice in alternative reporting from state-controlled media’s propaganda. It was a very difficult time for independent media as the government pressed multiple charges against him, serious enough to shut down the paper and have him arrested.

Just a year after the formation of The Daily News, the paper was distributing 105 000 copies daily, while the state-owned Herald was reported to have fallen by 50% in daily circulation. But ZANU PF accused the paper of being a mouthpiece for MDC

However, the paper also suffered two bombings, allegedly by Zimbabwean security forces. Nyarota was arrested six times and reportedly was the target of a government assassination plot. After being forced from the paper by new management in December 2002, Nyarota left Zimbabwe for United States of America.

While in the United States, he began an online newspaper, The Zimbabwe Times.

He was a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, and he has received nine international journalism awards, including the Golden Pen of Freedom, presented by the World Association of Newspapers, and UNESCO’s prestigious Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award

In 2006, he released his first book, a memoir – Against the Grain. The memoir tells of his experiences as a schoolteacher in Rhodesia and later as a journalist under Mugabe’s rule.

In 2018, after the removal of Robert Mugabe from power, he wrote his second book,  The Graceless Fall of Robert Mugabe: The End of a Dictator’s Reign

Personal life

Nyarota has a wife, Ursula, and three children.

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