Saluting Ma Tambo?

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This short look at the coverage around the death of Adelaide Tambo was a follow-up to coverage on Coretta Scott King. The media did exceptionally well in their role to educate and inform in this instance.

It is a temptation when reporting on a woman, married to a man of influence, to slide into reporting about him instead. This is true even when the woman is a key figure in history herself. This we saw with the death of Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King’s wife. This trend has a gender aspect to it, as it is seldom true when reporting on the husband of a great women. This trend is disappointing, especially since a strong society should have role-models of both sexes. It is for this reason, the Media Monitoring Project noted with interest the coverage around the death of Adelaide Tambo.

All Gauteng-based newspapers surveyed reported the death of Adelaide Tambo . Coverage was overwhelmingly good, showing Adelaide Tambo as both a struggle heroine and a strong community leader. Coverage started on the 1st February 2007 and continued until the weekend of the 10th and 11th.

Coverage on the death of a hero functions to inform people about their history. This is particularly important for all South Africans, still affected by the legacy of apartheid education and government-controlled media content. Although it was relatively easy to cover some aspects of her funeral, including some of our countries top leaders statements of appreciation of Adelaide Tambo, journalists also went out of their way to report on unique angles to the story.

– Sandra Roberts

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