Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is delighted to give a GLAD[1] to SowetanLIVE for its story about a technical school administration that has reportedly been forced to leave their school due to not having electricity for four months because of cable theft. Here, the journalist, Dimakatso Modipa gives a voice to the children by accessing one of the pupils who speaks on behalf of the children, highlighting how they feel about the alleged neglect by the Gauteng education department.

“Pupils suffer as cable thieves strike at Tshwane school” (SowetanLIVE, 19/08/2022) is a story about teachers and pupils at Modiri Technical School in Mamelodi, East of Pretoria, who have, according to the article, “abandoned their offices and squat at another school because of the lack of electricity”.

Modipa reports that “the non-availability of power has also affected teaching as the majority of the practical subjects such as mechanical and woodwork use tools that require electricity to be taught. As a result, some pupils have been going to their teachers’ home, where there is electricity, to try and catch up on these subjects”.

Lesego Motshana, a grade 10 pupil at Modiri Technical School, expresses his views in the article saying, “I only read the book, look at pictures and read about electric instead of doing my practical work. I’m afraid I will fail at the end of the year because I’m far behind with my subjects.”

MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media state that “children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so [media should] try and include them”. The journalist adhered to this guideline by accessing the learner for his views and including them to the article.

MMA congratulates SowetanLIVE and its journalist, Dimakatso Modipa for reporting that is inclusive of children’s views on an issue affecting them. It is always a pleasure to read articles that take the necessary precautions and include children’s views when reporting on issues that affect the children. We encourage SowetanLIVE and the journalist to continue reporting on stories about children and present the children with an opportunity to express their views when it is in the children’s best interest to do so. Adding children’s voices to stories about them not only enriches the stories with children’s perspectives but also empowers the children to speak on matters that affect them.

Written by Bantse Pelle-Mokale

Edited by Lister Namumba

[1] GLADs are awarded to media for reporting on children responsibly and for accessing them as sources.