NBO stands for None But Ourselves (can free our minds). It is a fledgling digital magazine, built on the principle of free, honest & robust media for all. Based in Zimbabwe, the aim is to give a voice to views shut out of mainstream media whilst providing engaging and entertaining content.
Our founder and editor Joe Ruzvidzo always moaned about Zimbabwe’s mainstream media, and the stories they cover. Followers of his twitter feed will know how he violently rails against newspapers and how stories are presented.
In late 2014, he mentored young journalism students at the Highway Africa journalism conference, and advised them that people nowadays can build their own media entities with a few short clicks. Nobody needs to make coffee for three years in a major newsroom, waiting to get assigned a story just because no-one more senior is available.
He then decided to take his own advice; there was no value in whining about the media we have, if we were not willing to create the media we want. The only solution is to actually create the type of content we want to consume, instead of complaining all the time about what is available.
The core value that NBO is built on is freedom. Freedom not just to create, but also to consume the media we want. Not just access to speech, but access to information from as wide or as narrow a range of sources as we choose.
We need to encourage a plurality of voices in Zimbabwe, instead of stifling speech through the arrest of journalists, the persecution of media practitioners and an onerous licensing regime designed to be exclusionary rather than to facilitate access.
Fortunately, digital publishing is an entry point into a media space previously the exclusive precinct of a moneyed few. Minimal startup costs and an increasingly intuitive tool set mean that anyone can create their own media if they’re fed up with the old.
It is in this do-it-yourself spirit, and with a healthy dose of foolish optimism, that NBO was conceived in early 2015, and was launched in November of same.
“Digital media is relatively low cost and this could be the genesis of a new media player in Zimbabwe. With his authenticity, Joe has a chance to make NBO a compelling voice. This digital publication has my very best wishes.”
– Trevor Ncube, “Joe Finds His Voice“
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind, because man is related to man under all circumstances for good or for ill.”
– Marcus Garvey (1937), “The Work That Has Been Done“