The editorial by Themba Khumalo, “Maiming a child’s spirit is the worst of all sins” in the Sunday Sun (29/11/2009, pg. 14) was one to be glad about. The editorial talked about the pain, hurt and suffering that children go through without having several basic rights such as the right to dignity, parental care, food and emotional support. This is demonstrated in the editorial by using a case study of a little girl who was a victim of child abuse.
The child was emotionally abused and this was evident when the editorial says that the child could not speak when she (Little L) met the caregiver. “When I met her, she was unable to talk, she could only grunt and tried to talk in limited syllables.” The writer continues to talk make reference to how “Little L” was isolated from the rest of the world when he talks about how the child was given a doll but threw it away.
The headline “Maiming a child’s spirit is he worst of all sins” was particularly appropriate as the context of the story revolved around child abuse, defining destroying a child’s spirit as child abuse.
The editorial also gave the child a pseudonym, (Little L) while still managing to tell an excellent story. The article continued to highlight children’s rights to love, care, warmth, joy and affectionate parents. “Little L, as the good people of iThemba named her, has known no childhood joys. She has not felt the warm and caring hands of loving parents. Affection which she must get in truckloads, was thin on the ground”
Using the editorial to highlight child abuse serves to indicate editorial commitment to the issue and as such is laudable. We at MMA hope that they will themselves highlight instances of child abuse and use their considerable popularity to help change the norms that make it to prevalent.