Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD[1] to City Press and Timeslive for publishing a story of a girl who came up with an extraordinary solution to end the spread of shack fires.

The first story entitled “School girl fights fires” City Press (Trending, 01/04/2018, p.2) reports on how 17-year-old, Gabriella Mogale from Port Elizabeth was inspired by the 2017 Knysna wildfires, which destroyed homes in the community, in  developing her stunning invention.

“You never think you would create or do something great until you do it,” Gabriella is quoted as saying in the article. She continues, “And having come from a disadvantaged background, I have always wanted to be that person who is going to change the lives of someone who was like me.”

The second article titled, “Eastern Cape teen invents fire-proof shack” Timeslive (15/03/2018) also focuses on Gabriella’s achievement and her motivation as a pupil trying to come up with a valuable solution to improve the lives of people living in shacks. She shares more insights into her invention, saying, “I didn’t think my idea was good enough to enter into the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, but my science teacher convinced me to enter. It didn’t seem compatible with all the other projects. You might not think it’s a great idea but someone else may see something in it.”

MMA always encourages journalists and media in general to give children the opportunity to have their voices heard. This is in light of research by MMA which suggests that children hardly have a say in matters that affect them in South African news media. In fact, in 2016, MMA’s research[2] showed that only 12% of children’s views were accessed in stories involving them.

We therefore congratulate City Press and Timeslive for challenging this pattern and for further highlighting children’s achievements and portraying them in a positive light. This is the kind of practice we need to have across all media houses and when it is clearly in the best interests of the children involved to do so.

We hope to read more of such content in the near future.

By Jacques Ndong.

[1] A GLAD refers to an article where the rights and welfare of children have been promoted.