Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD[1] to Sunday Times and Saturday Citizen for positively reporting on children in sport and celebrating their achievements.

The article from Sunday Times titled, “Strong-arm Zanle, 13, no pushover for heftier adversaries” (06/10/2019, p.6) by Kgaukelo Masweneng is about a 13-year-old arm wrestler, Zanle Nel from Mbombela. She is reportedly the youngest competitor in South Africa and has won some competitions despite her “health problems as a type [two] diabetic patient”. According to the article, “in May [Zanle] won bronze at the South African championships in Sandton – just under a year since first taking up the sport.”

The journalist added a beautiful image to the article of her competing against another female. She is accessed in the story and shares her love for arm wrestling. “l get an adrenaline rush every time l compete. lt’s  a mental game that requires a lot of focus,” Zanle is quoted saying.

By accessing children, journalists allow them to tell their own story. According to MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media,[2] journalists are encouraged to access children and allow them to participate in the news especially if the article is about their achievements and it is in their best interest for them to be accessed.

MMA believes that it is important to allow children to speak and give their views on stories about them. This is to give them a voice and to show that their opinions also matter.

Getty Images’ picture, “Starting young” (Saturday Citizen, 12/10/2019, p.43) also receives a GLAD for a beautiful image showing a surfing child in action. The image is of a 13-year-old boy who, according to the caption, competed in the finals for Hurley BL’s Blast Off 2019 in Sydney. Saturday Citizen did well in publishing the positive image as it helps celebrate the child’s achievement.

MMA is GLAD that the Sunday Times journalist, Kgaukelo Masweneng reported on a positive story of a child and gave her a voice. Saturday Citizen is also applauded for publishing a positive Getty Images photograph of a child in sport. We encourage other media to emulate this.

By Girlie Sibanda


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


[2] (See page 3)