Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is delighted to award a GLAD[1] to The Star for publishing an article about a seven-year-old child who is dedicated to helping other young children deal with some of life’s biggest problems through his newly launched comic book.

The article titled, “A superhero story” (The Star, 21/11/2019, p.4) reports on how young Prince Mashawana had a vision of creating a more realistic superhero to tackle real-life issues faced by children in the country.

Written by Asanda Matlhare, the article further goes on to highlight how SuperMash, the superhero name Mashawana has come to be known by, is the country’s first black child fictional superhero whose work entails encouraging children to see themselves as heroes in their own right. This includes challenging everyday issues that children face “such as adapting to new living environments, learning how to read and write as well as self-confidence issues”.

Furthermore, the journalist quotes SuperMash saying, “Young people in Mzansi have a lot of challenges. I thought it would be fun to have stories and a hero. So that’s what the business is all about.”

As such, the journalist and her publication are to be commended for not only publishing a story that highlights children’s activism against the challenges they face, but also for having accessed the child in question.

This sort of journalistic practice is promoted and encouraged by MMA’s Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children where it states “children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”[2] As seen in the article and stated above, this is precisely what the journalist did.

It is for these reasons then that MMA lauds The Star and its journalist, Ayanda Matlhare, for championing ethical journalistic practice and principles. We further appeal to the publication to continue with this considerate and responsible reporting on children and look forward to reading more inspiring articles like this one.

By Azola Dayile

[1] A GLAD is awarded to an article that reports about children in a positive way