The story “Female pupils excel in rugby” (13/06/2017) by African News Network 7(ANN7) has been awarded a GLAD[1] by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) for portraying children in a positive manner and highlighting their achievements.

The story is about a group of female pupils from Carolina in Mpumalanga who participated in a rugby tournament and were crowned as rugby champions in the province. According to the report, the pupils will be representing the province at the national winter games in Durban in July.

Women’s rugby is often not given due recognition compared to men’s rugby in the media. By writing this story, the journalist, France Nyaka and ANN7 challenged stereotypes based on gender and race, where we mostly see white men excelling in rugby. This story has shown that black girls also have the capabilities to compete and do well in this field.

This kind of reporting is in line with MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on children[2] which encourage journalists to always strive to, “Challenge negative stereotypes about children and conventional roles children occupy in the media”. The story was accompanied by an image of the team displaying their gold medals and certificates. Throughout the story the journalist had a child-centred approach and promoted the views of the young champions. For instance, the captain of the team, Siphesihle Masango (15) was interviewed talking about how they set their goals on qualifying and representing their province.

“We have no doubt that we will be returning home in possession of an accolade as we did at the provincial tournament,” she is quoted saying.

We would love to see more of such stories in media that challenge stereotypes and empower other women and girls particularly in black society to see themselves in positive, active and diverse roles. MMA therefore congratulates ANN7 for covering this story and we hope to see more of these in the future.

By Msizi Mzolo

[1] A GLAD is given to the media for reporting on children in a responsible manner and for promoting their best interests