The Raoul Wallenberg Institute recently interviewed Lovejoy Mtongwiza to talk to him about is work as a journalist and endeavours in human rights activism.
Lovejoy Mtongwiza is a 25 year old journalist from Zimbabwe. He grew up wanting to do journalism and has always had a passion for writing. “I would say I’m a born journalist,” he explains to me from 263Chat’s offices, a large online media organisation based in Zimbabwe. He joined 236Chat after completing college at Harare Poly College, School of Journalism. “I have been a journalist for just over two-and-a-half years. I am a journalist, a photojournalist and a social media strategist.”
However, Lovejoy did not initially pursue human right reporting as a career. He had been working as a journalist for around four months when he was asked to cover a political demonstration. Getting caught in the crossfire, he explains, was a moment that exposed him to human rights. From then on, he promised himself to use his own voice to speak up.
He explains: “I’ve made it a mandate that whatever I do will be to reflect the situation exactly as it is on the ground; I don’t need to lie about it. I have to give the people who can’t speak up for themselves a voice.”
Lovejoy has kept his word, and has been working with Transparency International Zimbabwe, Amnesty International Zimbabwe and other youth organisations to try and spread awareness about teen pregnancies in Zimbabwe.
“We have been trying to tackle the issue of the death sentence here in Zimbabwe with Amnesty International Zimbabwe for the past two years now. It’s an issue that we have been advocating for. Our aim is to have the death penalty repealed from the constitution.”
In line with this project, Lovejoy and his colleagues visit jails to meet death row prisoners to hear their views and stories. He also speaks about other issues he is working on.
Recently, Lovejoy has been investigating how youth can be brought into the dialogue about issues such as sexual reproductive health and youth engagement in peace building in emergent cases. He and his team are looking at how youth can be brought to the table to talk about such issues with politicians, to give young people a voice and have them air their concerns and issues, as well as how they can take part in peace building and nation building.
“As a young journalist, I want to pursue human rights formation. So, I need to exhaust as much as I can on how I can become a human rights activist and someone who can represent the voice of the voiceless. I need as much as I can get from RWI: Be it education-wise, be it material-wise, anything that will enable me to carry out my mandate of improving human rights.”