Contrary to dominant discourse on children, children have a lot to offer and are not merely victims of adult forces and societal circumstances. This point is clearly illustrated by two articles which Media Monitoring Africa has jointly selected for a GLAD1. The articles “Maths whizz kids off to Korea to showcase skills” (The New Age, 16/07/2014, p.8) and “Meet the future Tiger Woods of Mzansi” (City Press, 13/07/2014, p.20) prove that counter to popular media images of children as victims, they are in fact achievers and are active, empowered individuals who have a voice.
The first article, “Maths whizz kids off to Korea to showcase skills” written by Xolani Dlamini speaks about four South African children whose passion for mathematics, hard work and dedication has given them the opportunity to represent South Africa at an international mathematics competition in South Korea.
The second article, “Meet the future Tiger Woods of Mzansi” written by Pule Mokhini speaks about a nine year-old boy who is a passionate golfer and recently participated in the Sanlam Glacier Junior Series tournament. According to the article the nine-year-old managed to outmanoeuvre some of his older opponents on one of the most difficult courses in the world.
Both articles give these young heroes an opportunity to speak about their achievements and successes; but also demonstrate the abilities that children have. The articles also illustrate how important it is for young people to invest in their future from an early age and that the road to success requires lots of hard work and determination.
In the article by The New Age, Amahle’s mother speaks of how her daughter who is one of the chosen learners to represent South Africa at an international mathematics competition is constantly focusing on her books. The article also mentions how the children were trained for four months in preparation for the competition, showing that children can commit and be proactive.
The journalists also ensured that they include direct quotes and images of these young achievers.
Such positive media depictions provide role models for other young people, influencing their attitudes and behaviour. More so, media portrayals of children have a profound impact on attitudes towards children and childhood.
Well done to City Press and The New Age. We hope that you will continue to publish many articles that provide a more diverse representation of children.
1. On a weekly basis, MMA highlights cases of good practice, where the media has promoted the rights and welfare of children, otherwise referred to as “GLADs”, as well as instances where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage, referred to as “MADs”↩