Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) commends and gives a GLAD[1] to The Herald for its empowering portrayal of a girl child, Minke Janse Van Rensburg who is living with Down Syndrome.

The article, “Gold medal on Minke’s radar” (12/04/2021, p.5) celebrates a 16-year-old girl’s achievement by telling her passion for swimming and about her becoming a record holder in the swimming category.

The article written by the journalist, Riaan Marais is an inspiration for any child. The journalist writes that the child recently broke her own record at the recently held South African Invitational Aquatics Championship.

Minke is quoted in the article saying, “I love swimming at big events… I also do kick-boxing, hockey and biathlons.”

A picture of Minke in a swimming pool with her father by side accompanies the article.

The article also reports that in whatever competition the child finds herself, she always gives her best.

According to the Children’s Institute of South Africa,[2] children under the age of 18 years make up 35% of the South Africa population. Yet, Media Monitoring Africa’s recent report on media’s coverage of children[3] reveals that stories about children only make up 13% of the news in the South African media. The data for stories on children with disabilities is even more disappointing. The Herald is commended for reporting on a child with special needs and ensuring that the reporting is positive and empowering.

MMA congratulates The Herald for the article. We implore The Herald and the journalist to continue reporting on stories about children and also to give the children the platform to share their views.

By Jacques Ndong

[1] GLAD’s are awarded to media for reporting on children responsibly and for accessing them