Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD to Daily Sun for telling a positive and uplifting story of Atanasio Dai, a young poet and a grade 11 pupil at Kwa-Bhekilanga High School in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Titled “Atanasio’s poetry keeps him in touch” (Daily Sun, 20/06/2013, p. 26), the story is about 17-year-old Atanasio who started writing down his thoughts at a tender age of 13, and has now turned them into poetry.
The journalist, Everson Luhanga reports how Atanasio recited his first poem at school and “his big moment came when he was invited to perform on Africa Day on 25 May at the Soweto Theatre.” He further highlights how he has also been awarded with a certificate of recognition for an outstanding performance by the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and the Department of Education for his poem titled Our Deepest Fear, about “how to prevent contracting HIV and Aids.”
The fact that the article is centred solely on Atanasio makes it even more commendable. The young poet is quoted both directly and indirectly throughout the article, and also has a head shot picture of him published alongside the article.
The article perfectly ends with him talking about his dreams of becoming a literature teacher one day.
Daily Sun’s story of Atanasio serves as a good example of how media should report on children and how it should counterbalance prevalent stereotypes on children by reporting on their dreams and accomplishments. By so doing shining much needed light on children’s unique attributes and abilities.
MMA Guidelines for Reporting on Children in the Media urge media professionals to: “Challenge negative stereotypes about children and conventional roles children occupy in the media (e.g. helpless victims) whenever you can.” By focusing on and celebrating Atanasio’s talent as a poet, his achievements and aspirations, the article does exactly that.
MMA applauds Daily Sun and Everson Luhanga for this positive and feel good story that does not only focus on a child but also promotes their talent and achievements. We look forward to reading more of such stories from Daily Sun.
In response to the commentary, Daily Sun’s journalist, Everson Luhanga:
“It is an honour for me to hear of such a good news from you. Actually it is a dream for every journalist to have their work recognised nationally or to the international community. I am inspired and so excited about the award. I must say my Editor has been the pillar of all what I could achieve in the industry. Nahima has nurtured me from my young reporting career until today that my work is being recognised. I thank you for the GLAD award and I dedicate it to Nahima my Editor. Thank you once more and I will keep on pushing for the best.”