By Leopold Munhende I Chief Correspondent
JOURNALISTS, human rights activists, friends, mentees, and family bade farewell to Abigail Gamanya, Thursday at Warren Hills cemetery after succumbing to pneumonia Monday.
Gamanya who had over two decades experience in the media industry was the executive director of Gender Media Connect (GMC) at the time of her passing.
A former attachee in then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office during the Government of National Unity (GNU), her death drew the attention of political players, including then Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Nelson Chamisa.
Below is what some of the mourners said about Gamanya;
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) president Nelson Chamisa
“Abigail represented journalism par excellence, she represented the ability to speak truth to power, the ability to give power to truth.”
“She served very well her own country, she was a patriot. She served in the inclusive government, literally serving the prime minister and cabinet; that tells you the type of person she was.
“We have to celebrate our sister Abigail, very candid, truthful, and loving to all.”
Young Journalists Association (YOJA) vice president Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
“As young female journalists, we are saddened by the passing on of Abigail Gamanya, a true gender heroine.
“I first met Abie when GMC was still Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMWZ), she was accommodative. She made sure everyone got an opportunity and be recognized in the media fraternity.
“Her leadership qualities can never be doubted, she was very influential and fought till the end.
“Abie will always be remembered as a giant in gender issues and transforming many lives. As young female journalists we have been robbed and her void will be felt. We will always cherish the work she did, a true gender champion and veteran.”
Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF) national coordinator Njabulo Ncube
“She was a forceful leader who combined serious work and humour. She was and still remains a gender champion for me. She had a way of finding her way to any editor and newsrooms
“I worked closely with her in my job as national coordinator of ZINEF and a member of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) which she chaired at one time. She was part of us that launched a campaign for wide sweeping media reforms. He was part of media activism, we spent most of the time together in media advocacy meetings, events and conferences.
“I interacted with her a lot to the extent that she will call me any hour even while sleeping with my wife: on purely media-related issues.
“Despite the fact that I was older than her by three years, she called me mpfana.”
CapiTalk 100.4 FM manager and GMC board member Nyaradzo Makombe,
“Abigail will be greatly missed, we will forever remember her for her commitment to gender equality issues. She worked to ensure female journalists are recognised for the work that they put in, that they are elevated to positions of leadership and that the working environment is safe for them.
“I know a lot of male journalists that were mentored by Abie and still owe her. She moved the women’s movement to levels that are going to be difficult to maintain. We liked that Abie could transcend generations, the old guard and the younger ones coming in from colleges.
“We want to remember Abie as a general in the media industry, she will always be very dear to our hearts.”
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) coordinator Nigel Nyamutumbu
“I will fondly remember Abigail’s firmness and ability to handle difficult conversations in a light way. She had amazing convening power that would bring people across many sects of society together.
“Abigail was such a hard worker and self-starter with an amazing drive to complete tasks. Her strong-willed character would get us working.
“She was one person whom you would not want to keep giving excuses on work-related matters. When she wants targets met she would take no prisoners.
“I actually used to humorously tell her that I would make sure I submit her project assignments before “hurricane Abie” descends.
“Such was the epic work environment she had created. And she was like that even on the international scene, where she raised the standards of Zimbabwean media on the global stage.
“A Gender champion par excellence, I will fondly remember a friend and big sister who was just a phone call away.”
Former Harare Polytechnic media student Bridget Mabanda
“I will remember Abie as my mentor. She created a group of 10 mentees from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and Harare Polytechnic school of journalism which we used to interact with her and other senior journalists from print and broadcast.
“It is in this group that she would always remind us to keep in touch with our mentees; “Is anyone keeping in touch with the mentors or mangoti zii?”
“I celebrate you Abie, wherever you are. Rest in power.”