By Lloyd Rabaya
“And the Media Best Online Broadcast Award goes to…,” at this point, she was ready to clap for the winner, but got the shock of her life when she was named the recipient of the prestigious accolade at the AIDS Healthcare Fund (AHF) Zimbabwe Media Awards held on Tuesday in Harare.
She continued clapping as she was not sure who was named the winner, only to see all eyes on her and she knew she was the one to bag the gong. Still in a state of trance, with her heart pounding like she was walking in the valleys of shadows of death, she was startled by the awards presenter and received the paying off of her hard work.
The presentation team congratulated her and all she could do was fake a smile as she was still disdainful. All this disbelief was a result of growing up in rural Mutoko where such a milestone can only be achieved by a few, which she is now part of.
Elizabeth Nyaguyo spent part of her childhood and did her Advanced level studies in Mutoko which is about 150km from the capital, Harare. Growing up, like many other kids, she wanted to be a nurse but hers is a special case as the obsession with the profession is still there.
Other kids were very much afraid of the injection but Nyaguyo was brave enough or loved the field, that she could hold it. She did not flinch. As she grew older and wiser, she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps of becoming a nurse.
“Growing up I always wanted to be a nurse until when I finished my Advanced level studies at Mutoko Central High. Everything happened so fast and the next thing I saw myself in the journalism class,” she said after winning the accolade.
Venturing into the journalism industry did not turn off her passion for health. She started reporting much on the health state of the country mainly focusing on HIV and AIDS under Sly Media TV. Hard work surely pays off.
With the help of organizations like the National Aids Council (NAC) and Springs of Life, Nyaguyo opened her eyes and discovered how rife HIV and AIDS are in modern days, especially in rural areas and mining compounds.
“I am passionate about HIV and AIDS reporting and with the tours conducted by AHF, I discovered that the disease was still out there and destroying the lives of our youths. I was touched and became consistent in reporting health stories,” she said.
In this male-dominated journalism fraternity, Nyaguyo said she almost decided to quit because she was afraid and also thought that she could as well leave it for the males. However, something kept burning inside her, passion.
“I am so overwhelmed by this award and I actually thought it was not for me, but for senior journalists, so I really thank God for this,” she added.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Madeline Dube, the NAC communications director reiterated the power that the media possesses in shaping public opinion on issues of interest.
She also appreciated that the media is playing a huge role in entertaining, educating, and informing the masses on health issues.
“There are people who you entertain, educate and inform unknowingly. When you do something which is your passion, you walk all the way. Some people left professions because they did not have the passion for it but those who have the passion are still in.
Those who are passionate about journalism and others about health are still facing all the hardships.
“You have great work ahead of you; that health story is not a small matter. AHF came because it realized that the HIV story may be tiring so we need to encourage and cheer you up so that you can continue educating more people. We are also here to make sure that we shun the act of journalists asking for bribes because an HIV story needs careful attention,” she added.
Among the winners were renowned Michael Gwarisa, Thulani Siziba, Moses Magugunyeki, and Cathrine Murombedzi.
Young Journalists Association (YOJA) President, Richard Zimunya, congratulated Elizabeth for scooping the award and said that the future of journalism is in safe hands with the rate at which young journalists are being recognized locally and internationally.
“It is good to see that young journalists are also dominating the media industry in Zimbabwe and it is also a sign that the future of journalism is in safe hands. I hope this will inspire more young journalists out there so they know that they can also achieve this,” he said.