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#16DaysofActivism: Profiling Jestina Mukoko


As we commemorate the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, 263Chat will profile 16 most influential women in Zimbabwe. The focus will be on their achievements and the contribution they have or are making to uplift society and the country at large.

Jestina Mukoko

Jestina Mangarehwa Mukoko was born in Zimbabwe on 22 March 1967. She was once married but lost her husband in 1995.


Jestina Mukoko is a Human rights activist who has gained international recognition for campaigning against human rights abuses as well as denouncing gender based violence in Zimbabwe. Mukoko is the national director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project which monitors and documents political violence in Zimbabwe.


Mukoko holds a bachelor of Science in Politics and Administration from the University of Zimbabwe. She was also the 2010 fellow at the Oak Institute for International Human Rights at Colby College in Maine. In 2012, she joined other mid-career professionals as a Draper Hills Summer Fellow on Democracy and Development Program at Stanford University.


For over a decade in Zimbabwe, Jestina Mukoko was a popular news anchor and Journalist with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

During most of her career in activism, Jestina Mukoko has locked horns several times with the police. Mukoko runs Zimbabwe Project Peace which is a Non-Governmental Organisation that seeks to monitor as well as document political violence in the country.

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She has documented the Matabeleland massacres in which she is said to have interviewed women and children on their experiences during the massacres.

She was quoted as having said that her experience in Matebeleland showed her that she was more motivated to work for human rights than as a news anchor. In an interview, she stated that

I thought broadcast journalism was my second skin. My transition happened in 2000 when I was on a task in the southern part of Zimbabwe as a broadcast journalist. In interviews with survivors of the Matabeleland massacres of the 1980s made up mainly of women and children, their harrowing experiences became secondary trauma on my part and left me with an indelible mark, which is a keen interest in human rights.

Through the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Jestina and others have created a network of peace monitors throughout the country which compiles reports on trends of political violence in the country which can then be used by various stakeholders.


She attained Laureate of the City of Weimar (Germany) Human Rights Prize in 2009,U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award (2010), NANGO (National Association of Nongovernmental Organizations) Peace Award and French National Order of the Legion of Honor award in 2011.

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Journalist based in Harare

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