Jethro Goko, left, was imprisoned for fighting for a free press in his homeland his paper, the Daily News, banned by Mugabe’s regime.
But the 49-year-old refused to let these events dampen his spirit and eventually succeeed in winning back the paper’s publishing licence.
He also juggled his role with a course in journalism leadership at the University of Central Lancashire which he says aided him in his quest to relaunch the paper.
Said Jethro: “I can’t tell you how happy I am to have graduated. The UCLan course was fantastic, really enjoyable and exactly what I was looking for.
“It really zeroed in on the specific areas of management, strategy and digital shift which are essential for me in my role as the editor-in-chief.
“At times I thought it was all getting too difficult with the legal battle to regain the paper’s publishing license but coming to Preston was a godsend.
“Speaking to fellow newspaper editors on the course reassured me that I was doing the right thing and it was worth all the financial and emotional effort.”
Jethro, who has also held senior positions at newspapers in England and South Africa, juggled his work commitments with regular trips to Preston for seminars and workshops.
He re-launched the Daily News in March 2011 after a licence was granted in 2009 and has seen staff numbers go from zero to 320.
Francois Nel, the founder of the Journalism Leaders Programme at UCLan, said: “I’m unbelievably proud of Jethro and what he has achieved since he started with us back in 2006.
“The way he’s studied hard alongside resurrecting the Daily News is amazing. He’s been a joy to have over in Preston and I’m delighted he’s keen to send over some of his staff to follow in his footsteps and become the next journalism leaders.”