“Look at me, ma, I’ve got my new legs on”, (Saturday Star, 07/08/2010, p. 5) was
selected as a Glad for proving that there is always a positive side to children who have been victims of traumatic experiences.
The story was a follow-up on a three-year-old girl whose legs were amputated after reportedly contracting gangrene while undergoing treatment in September 2009 for burns sustained to her hands. The gangrene was suspected to be caused by medical negligence following controversy in the media and within the health department.
The young girl, Thembisa Nikelo, was caught in the middle of the controversy, which makes it all the more refreshing to see her in a positive and active light as portrayed in the article by Saturday Star. The journalist, Sheree Bega, could have easily portrayed the child as a victim. Instead, she chose to focus on her as a lively child who has overcome a traumatic experience.
The newspaper paid the child a visit after she received a pair of prosthetic legs. “I really like my feet. I can walk with them and stand with them,” she was quoted as saying.
Media Monitoring Africa commends Saturday Star for accessing the child as it allowed her to express herself and further showed an interest in her as an individual.
The child also appeared happy and cheerful in one of the pictures accompanying the article which reinforced the idea that she was moving on with her life, just like every other child.
We can all draw some inspiration from Thembisa, and media can also take a leaf out of Saturday Star’s exemplary reporting.