Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD to Sunday Times for its unique portrayal of children involved in entrepreneurship.
“Teen entrepreneurs are making a future” (Sunday Times, 07/05/2017, p.8) by Khanyi Ndabeni, reports on children who have decided to take their economic agency in their hands.
The article profiles 15-year-old Fedoze Phillips from Eldorado Park who runs a jewellery design and manufacturing company and Brandon Williams, Clive Maqetuka and Daniel Moleka who run a menswear clothing business. Also profiled is a group of teenagers from Springs who also own and run a clothing business and 12-year-old Jenna Bischoff who ‘launched a cosmetics and toiletries line, in a bid to help save rhinos”.
Photographs of the children dressed in or showcasing their merchandise accompanies the story.
The article goes well beyond the call of duty when it comes to reporting on children. Most importantly, it challenges the negative and demeaning stereotypes that children often fall prey to in the media, in both portrayal and tone.
In contrast to the former reality, the article makes a clear effort to recognise the achievements of the children involved by showing them in a positive light. The children, boys and girls alike are represented with equal care and dignity.
The article further goes on to give us an insider’s perspective of the teen entrepreneurs, with them directly quoted and openly expressing their views on how it feels to run a small business.
“Running our own business while still at high school is challenging. We have to constantly decide on questions like do we spend the money to create a pop-up shop or do we invest in advertising or PR?” says Daniel.
Jenna Bischoff whose goal is to raise over a million rands to donate to the Unite Against Poaching organisation is quoted saying, “I started this because I was sad to learn about what people were doing to the rhinos.”
The inclusion of the children’s voices in the article promotes their right to freedom of expression and participation in the news which is often lacking in the media.
We congratulate Sunday Times for shining the light on children, portraying them as active citizens and for accessing them for their views. We hope that this type of reporting will become standard practice in all media.
By Motshabi Hoaeane
 A GLAD is awarded when journalists report on children responsibly and promote their best interest
 Coverage of Children in the Media 2016: http://bonabana.co.za/presentation-2016/