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MBABANE - Times of Swaziland Community reporter Sithembile Hlatshwayo won a prestigious regional award on reporting on children.

She won the Best Print News category for regional Children Reporting at a ceremony held at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Zambia on Friday. The awards were hosted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Regional Office in collaboration with Save the Children Zambia. She also won E10 000 to go with her award.
Hlatshwayo won the award for a story titled ’15-year-old virgin discovers he is HIV positive’. She said the judges were appreciating the good work of journalists across the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“They were encouraging us to continue writing children’s stories and portray them as heroes and not victims,” Hlatshwayo said.
Two journalists from Malawi and one from Zimbabwe were also awarded for their efforts. She was the only Swazi journalist to be awarded during the ceremony. The awards were presented by Zambia’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mwansa Kapeyo.

Hlatshwayo said they got to tour MUV TV, which specialised on children’s views as they could contribute positively to a country’s economy.
She said she felt humbled by the award, and it was the best thing to ever happen in her career as a journalist.
“I believe it came through my hard work and pushing myself to the edge. Being recognised in the SADC region is very big to me, and I will continue to work harder,” she said.

Times Managing Editor Martin Dlamini said they were very proud and happy for Hlatshwayo’s achievement. He thanked the institutions which initiated the recognition towards the media and the role they played in bringing out social injustice.
Dlamini said to give incentives to the media helped society in general as they did not have the platform to raise issues. He said the greatest beneficiaries were those affected by social injustices.

“How we do it is important and this is where the quality of stories comes in. We are happy to live up to the high standards to the point that we get international recognition, and I would like to encourage others to emulate this achievement,” he said.

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