The unemployment rate in South Africa keeps on growing, this according to Statistics South Africa which places the country’s unemployment rate at 29%.[1] 

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD[2] to The Star for publishing a story of a child entrepreneur who reportedly started a business to fight the high rate of unemployment in the country.

The article entitled, “Boy, 7, builds stationary empire” (The Star, 08/11/2019, p.3) by Lungile Matsuma is a story of Omphile Mabitsela, a Grade two learner in Randburg who is determined to defeat unemployment by hiring people affected in his new stationary business. A young boy who is said to have been inspired by his mother to start his own business, Omphile owns Quirk Quirk Inc, a “registered and 100% black owned business”. In the article, Omphile is portrayed as an active citizen, a child who is informed about current affairs and wants to be an agent for change. He is the central focus of the story and is accessed.

According to the article, Omphile’s dream is to be an employer and hire unemployed people “who he heard President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking about in the media”.

The seven-year-old is quoted saying, “President Ramaphosa told us there so many people who are not hired so I want to be that person who hires them.”

A picture of a smiling Omphile carrying some of the products his company produces accompanies the article. The nature of this picture and how the child is portrayed in the article is very much likely to encourage and motivate other children to start thinking about entrepreneurship and how they can play a role in reducing unemployment in the country.

This article is the best example of how to report about children’s achievements. MMA believes that children must be given space in the media to talk about their successes from their own point of view. MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media[3] encourage journalists to access children and allow them to participate in the news especially when the article is about their achievements or when it is in their best interest to be accessed.

MMA applauds Lungile Matsuma and The Star for great reporting on a child entrepreneur. The article has all the elements of excellent reporting in that the child is accessed and portrayed positively as an active citizen with agency.

We look forward to seeing reporters emulating this type of reporting that celebrates children.

By Ntsako Manganyi

[1] See Unemployment rises slightly in third quarter of 2019:

[2] A GLAD is awarded when journalists report positively and responsively on children