Friday, July 30, 2010"I dream of stating my convictions in a liberal democracy that is free of censorship, supportive of youthful voices and tolerant of divergent views. This is one of the main reasons why I wish to pursue my studies at the graduate level in Canada"
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), working with Canadian activist Emily Wilson, has set up a fund on behalf of Zimbabwean journalist Mbonisi Zikhali. Background about Mbonisi: Mbonisi Zikhali Mbonisi is a 28-year-old journalism student from a township outside of Bulawayo city in Zimbabwe. He has experienced intimidation from lecturers when trying to express opinions in his academic work and from state authorities when writing for an independent newspaper, as well as multiple interruptions to his studies over the past several years due to the political situation in Zimbabwe. New: In 2009, Mbonisi was accepted into the highly competitive and well-respected Masters in Journalism (MJ) program at Carleton University in Ottawa. He has now completed his first year of the program with the support of many donors who together raised $10,000. Click here to learn more about Mbonisi. After dealing with culture shock and the difficulty of being away from his close-knit family for the first time, Mbonisi has settled into life in Ottawa. While 2009 has posed many personal challenges for Mbonisi, as several friends and family members have passed away, he has successfully completed many of the required courses of the MJ program, achieving good grades with support and encouragement from his peers and lecturers. This year has also brought many new experiences for Mbonisi and he has embraced the seasons in Canada with enthusiasm, trying out skiing, skating, swimming, and biking - all for the first time. He has also had the chance to visit Montreal and Toronto several times, and has a personal goal to see the ocean firsthand before he returns home. Numerous professional opportunities have presented themselves as well, including meeting the renowned Canadian author Lawrence Hill, Zimbabwean lawyer and activist Beatrice Mtetwa, and several hip hop musicians and spoken word artists that have inspired Mbonisi since his early years in the township. Finally, Mbonisi has had his first article published in a Canadian journal, about the lack of freedom of expression for artists in Zimbabwe Click here to read it. Mbonisi Zikhali Emily Wilson, who met Mbonisi in October 2008 in Bulawayo, was inspired by his story and his determination. She has set herself the challenge of raising another $10,000 to help Mbonisi pay for his living costs during his second year at Carleton in 2010/11. The Fund: CJFE will be collecting funds through Canada Helps for Mbonisi Zikhali until: October 31, 2010 These funds will be used to help cover Mbonisi's accommodation, food, health insurance, books and other expenses while he continues his studies in Canada. Carleton University has generously agreed to cover Mbonisi's tuition costs for both years of the Masters in Journalism program and a second round of 230,000 Aeroplan points have been collected through a charitable account in order to cover the costs of his flights to go home for a visit in August 2010. He is especially looking forward to seeing his son, Mzi, who is now over a year old.
To donate, please click on the Canada Helps Giving Link CanadaHelps is a public charitable foundation (896568417RR0001). It is Canada's only donation portal that provides access to all of Canada's 80,000 charities.