Star child heard.

The Independent on Saturday gets a GLAD[1] from Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) because the publication positively portrayed children and gave them a voice in a story that involves them. 

The Independent on Saturday’s story is titled, “Lockdown legacy…one school girl’s effort helps hundreds of fellow pupils” (15/04/2023) and is written by Duncan Guy. The story is about a star child, Alex Lutz, 17, from a KwaZulu-Natal school who started a non-profit organisation website called to share education resources with other school learners that don’t have enough resources at their schools. The website provides a digital platform for pupils to access lessons and curriculum-related material that is offered by advantaged schools, free of charge.

The reason why this article receives a GLAD is because the child is portrayed in a positive way and she is accessed as a source throughout the article. Further, the article also includes testimonials from other pupils who have benefited from the website. 

The star child says in the article, “There was only a small handful of top schools in the country that had amazing resources, videos, power points and whatever you can think of, but the vast majority of pupils had absolutely nothing and were losing weeks, and eventually months, of valuable learning time.”

One of the pupils using the website says, “At school there had been gaps, I didn’t understand some things. Once we loaded them, it helped us master them.”

Another pupil says, “I don’t remember how many months into lockdown it was, but it came as a huge relief. The first lesson was learning arithmetic sequences through the website.” A recent media monitoring report by MMA on coverage of children showed that children’s voices in the media stood at 7%.[2] Fortunately,  The Independent on Saturday made sure they included children’s voices extensively.

The journalist must be commended for interviewing the children and giving them the opportunity to speak out on matters affecting them. By including the children’s voices, the journalist challenges the stereotype that children can’t speak for themselves and that they need adults to speak on their behalf. Lastly, The Independent on Saturday by accessing children it will encourage children to excel more in what they are doing.

We encourage The Independent on Saturday to continue reporting on children’s issues in this manner and ensure that the children are afforded an opportunity to express their views when it is in their interest. Well done!

Written by Msizi Mzolo

Edited by Ntombifuthi Kubeka

[1] A GLAD refers to an article where the rights and welfare of children have been promoted.