Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is thrilled to give a GLAD[i] to The Star for their article “Teen publishes third book” (The Star, 27/02/2020), which highlights a 15 year old girls’ achievements by telling her story and interviewing her on her success.

The article, written by Lungile Matsuma, tells the story of Reikantse Manaka, who has successfully published her third book titled “A snake in my school bag”.  She was inspired to write this book after one of her schoolmates discovered a snake in their bag during school assembly.

The story has extensive quotes from Reikantse, highlighting her journey of being a writer.  The journalist notes that she started writing when she was only eight years old and her love for writing started when her Grade 2 teacher encouraged her to start writing. Her books are for children between the ages of 12 and below and are based on her lived experiences.

Reikanstse was quoted saying “My Grade 2 teacher started encouraging my parents that I should actually write books and compile all my stories”.

The journalist reports on Reikantse’s story in a way that places great emphasises on the child by outlining her achievements as a writer, as well as allowing her the opportunity to reflect on her contribution towards fighting against illiteracy, which affects many South African children. A beautiful picture of Reikantse holding her three books also accompanies the story.

Reikantse highlights this point by stating that, “From a young age, we always hear that education is the key to success, but from my point of view, without the knowledge of reading, you can’t have an education”.

In 2016, MMA’s research showed that only 12% of stories about children, accessed children for their views[ii]. It is for this reason that MMA awards this story a GLAD because the journalist challenges this pattern of not including children’s voices in stories, especially in this case as Reikantse is providing solutions to challenges faced around illiteracy.  

MMA encourages The Star to continue to access children’s views in media coverage, when it is in their best interest to do so. This allows for the inclusion of their perspective, voices and celebrates their achievements.

By Phakamile Khumalo

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