Hopewell Chin’ono

Hopewell Rugoho-Chin’ono is a documentary film maker and international journalist. He was the ITV News Africa Field Producer from 2008 to 2015 and The New York Times ZIMBABWE foreign correspondent from 2015 to 2017.

Trained as a journalist at the Zimbabwean Institute of Mass Communications, Hopewell got his first post graduate Master of Arts degree in International Journalism from City University’s Journalism School in London, England. After graduating, he worked with the BBC World Service as a freelance radio producer, returning to his native Zimbabwe to work for the BBC as a freelance correspondent in 2003.

Unfortunately the Zimbabwean Government refused to accredit him as a journalist unless he worked with a pro-government media house, he refused.

He won a British Government Chevening scholarship in 2006 to read film at Brunel University, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in Documentary Practice in 2007.

He returned to Zimbabwe in 2007 and made a documentary film called ‘Pain in My Heart’. It won:

  • The African Journalist of the Year award
  • The Henry Kaiser Foundation award for HIV & Aids Reporting in Africa
  • The Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership award
  • The USAID Communication Award
  • The CNN African Journalist of the Year award.

Hopewell then set up Television International in Zimbabwe, a production house that produced news for ITN and South Africa’s e.tv. He has also worked with CNN International as a field producer on special assignments and produced for Sky News, BBC Newsnight and Ireland’s RTE.

In 2008 he went to the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School where he was awarded The Tutu Fellowship in African Leadership. Hopewell is also a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, only the third Zimbabwean journalist to have won the most prestigious Fellowship in journalism in 2009. In the same year, he was the winner of the US Aid Communication award in Zimbabwe for his HIV and Aids Reporting. A year later, he was nominated for a Rory Peck television award for his documentary film ‘A Violent Response’ which was also nominated for a 2010 BANFF World Television Award in Canada.

Hopewell was the television producer for UK’s ITV News, which is part of the Independent Television News Group and the Zimbabwe Foreign Correspondent for The New York Times.

This multi-skilled television journalist, whose skill include Correspondence, Producing, Camera and Editing work has left journalism to return to documentary film-making. He directed the only mental health film made in Africa, the award winning ‘State of Mind’, a film looking at Zimbabwe’s mental illness epidemic.

In 2020 he reported on alleged Covid-19 procurement fraud within the health ministry, which led to the arrest and sacking of Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. It was President Emmerson Mnangagwa who fired Obadiah in July for “inappropriate conduct” over the US$60m. medicines supply scandal.

On July 20, 2020, Hopewell was arrested and charged with inciting public violence. The US embassy called Hopewell’s arrest “deeply concerning”, while his lawyer called it “an abduction” and Amnesty accused Zimbabwean authorities of “misusing the criminal justice system to persecute journalists and activists”. He was freed in September on bail only to be arrested again in November 2020. This time he was charged with obstructing justice and contempt of court for a tweet about the court outcome of a gold smuggling scandal involving the President’s niece.

Hopewell Chin’ono was released on bail on January 27, 2021 after spending three weeks in prison. Chin’ono expressed concern about the COVID-19 pandemic in the overcrowded Chikurubi Prison and accuses the government of harassment for arresting him three times in five months.

His most recent professional awards include the 2022 International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award and the 2020 People Journalism Prize.