Q & A with Hopewell Chin’ono

Hopewell Chin’ono Being Presented With the 2008 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Award by Ghana's President John Agyekum KufuorOver the past year or so, Zimbabwean journalist and filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono has been celebrating a number of successes with the most recent one being his win of the CNN-sponsored African Journalist of the Year competition for the documentary, “Pain in My Heart”. His successes are leading towards bigger and better things for himself and his work helps to make a positive change in people’s perceptions of certain issues faced by various communities. To get to know him a bit more I asked him a few questions which he was kind enough to answer.

Q: What got you into journalism and how long have you been at it?

A: I got into journalism in 1990 when I started writing for a music magazine called Prize Beat when I was in high School.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: I draw my inspiration from people who were ordinary and have done more for their community than themselves.

Q: What is the most satisfying thing about the work that you do?

A: I enjoy it when my work changes people’s negative attitude towards other members of society.

Q: Earlier on in the year it was reported that you were blacklisted from covering the March elections. Was there a specific reason why you were on the list?

A: I was never given a specific reason for my banning. They just said I could not report. But I have put it behind me as it reflects work of small minded people.

Q: With the media clamp down in Zimbabwe, how much of a hindrance has that been on you working to your full potential?

A: I have not been able to work properly because you have all sorts of people trying to stop you from just taking out your camera.

Q: This year has been particularly good for you with your recent win of the African Journalist of the Year Competition and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship awarded earlier in the year. Were these awards you ever saw yourself receiving and what do they mean for you and your future?

A: I am motivated by reflecting on what’s around me. Awards are a reflection of what your peers and society think of your work.

Q: Has ”Pain in My Heart” had any sort of impact on the people in the documentary and other people living with HIV/AIDS?

A: It has made sure that the children of the late Angeline are assured of a brighter future.

Q: Will there be a follow up to “Pain in My Heart”?

A: I am working on something different from that. A reflection of the Zimbabwean election.

Q: What advice would you give to young aspiring African journalists?

A: I would say hard work pays and a lot of reading is important to understand issues.

Q: Where can people go to take a look at more of your work?

A: I will be setting up a website soon.


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