Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is  delighted to award a GLAD[1] to SowetanLIVE. This is for positively highlighting and accessing children in an article, “Pupils with learning disability have finally found home in Ekurhuleni to restore their dignity”(19/09/2021) by Promise Marupeng.

The article reports on hundreds of pupils with learning disabilities in the East Rand of Gauteng who have had their dignity restored by gaining entry to a skills development centre the Daveyton Skills School that caters for children with additional education needs. According to the article, the pupils will have the opportunity to learn entrepreneurial techniques as the school’s aim is to empower young children to study, manage and start their own businesses.

What is commendable about the article is the effort and care that the journalist took to seek out and include the views and opinions of the pupils themselves in the article. Moreover, the article does what is rarely done, and this is to give a spotlight to school children who are not the best performers when it comes to conventional forms of schooling.

This is demonstrated by the inclusion of 17-year-old pupil, Njabulo Mngomezulu’s voice who, when asked for their view on the school, said that “the school has become a haven of hope because he has found something that he is passionate about”.

Another pupil, Mary Nxumalo who is studying to be a beautician, was quoted as saying, “I battled with science studies and [mathematics] just after I began high school and after understanding that I was different and special from other children … I found love in learning beauty.”

This bodes well for good journalism practice when reporting on children in South Africa. According to the ‘Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media[2] compiled by MMA with children, journalists, editors, and media professionals, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.” This means that when trying to determine the best interests of children, their right to have their views considered is to be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.

Having done this well for this article, we again say big ups to SowetanLIVE and journalist, Promise Marupeng for great reporting on children. We encourage you to continue in this trajectory and always consider the best interests of children when reporting on them.

By Azola Dayile

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