Accessing children on an important issue such as cultural practices is something journalists and the media rarely do. This is why when they do, they must be commended. Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards Daily Sun a GLAD[1] for accessing children in an article written by Buziwe Nocuze.

The article titled, “A family of lzangoma!” (25/05/2021), is about the Tuswa family whose twin girls aged sixteen years and a nine-year-old followed their parents’ footsteps to become sangomas. The children from Philippi in Cape Town whose parents are long time traditional healers say they love their calling and that they still live their lives like any other ordinary child. A bright photograph of the children in their traditional attire with their parents accompanies the article.

Nine-year-old lminathi “Azazole” is quoted saying, “Even though l am still learning, l can help just like my sisters. l know what to do and when to do it.”

Her older sister, Anovuyo “Lihlume” added that some kids at school didn’t understand them at first but have now accepted them for who they are. Their parents mentioned that one of the twins fell sick and they later received a sign from the ancestors and accepted her gift to be a sangoma. The community as well as the girls’ parents are proud of the good way in which they carry out their sangoma duties despite their ages. The twin daughters want to be lawyers while the nine-year-old wants to be a doctor when they grown up, according to the article.

The journalist did a great job in accessing the children in the story and allowing them to share their views in an important issue. Accessing children in stories when in their best interest empowers them. They are also portrayed in a positive light as custodians of the African tradition. We also applaud the journalist for reporting on an issue that rarely features in media coverage of children and yet is very important.

According to one of the six principles and guidelines for the media on reporting on children by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), journalists should, “In interviewing (and reporting on) children, pay special attention to each child’s right to have their opinions heard, to participate in decisions affecting them…”[2]. The journalist, keeping to this principle went on to give children a voice to share their views on an important issue that involves them.

MMA commends Daily Sun and its reporter, Busiwe Nocuze for positive and commendable reporting on these children. We encourage other media to emulate this great reporting and inclusion of children’s voices in issues about them. We look forward to reading more articles on cultural practices that involve children. Well Done Daily Sun!

By Girlie Sibanda

[1] GLADs are awarded to media for reporting on children responsibly and for accessing them in matters of their concern.