When media give children positive recognition such as in the instance of “Schoolboy who walks the walk” (The Citizen, 03/11/2017, p.5), it is worthy of a GLAD.[1]

The story written by Ofentse Maphari, reports on a Grade 11 pupil, Nathi Nzima, from King Edward VII School who rescued a man who had collapsed owing to dehydration and exhaustion. According to the article, the pupil came to the aid of the man who “looked sick” when no one else initially, including the police, would help. The article further reports that “people from a house near where the man had collapsed came to help” and drove the man to his home when efforts to get an ambulance proved futile. The child is reported to have become a “social media sensation” after a woman who witnessed his actions wrote to the head of his school with her letter being posted online.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is pleased with the way the article is reported and the fact that it positively portrays the child involved as an upright “compassionate” citizen. Nathi was accessed in a manner that gave the reader insight into his bravery and principles.

He is quoted in the article talking about how his parents raised him saying, “They instilled this thing in me that I need to be kind to people that are less fortunate. I really didn’t think what I did would be such a big deal. I was shocked when the headmaster read the story out in assembly.”

The fact that Nathi was accessed in the story not only promotes his right to speak in a story about him but also enriches the story with his perspective. Furthermore, his positive portrayal  supports the principle as laid out in MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles on Reporting on Children in the Media that “the way in which the media represents, or even ignores children, can influence decisions taken on their behalf, and how the rest of society regards them.”[2]

We applaud The Citizen for challenging stereotypes about children who are often seen as “vulnerable”[3] and needing protection and instead reporting the story with an approach that recognises children as active and compassionate citizens who able to inspire change in society.

By Motshabi Hoaeane


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

[2] Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting Children in the Media, Pg.4

[3] Status of Children’s Rights in South African Media report. Pg.6.