She’s the youngest registered journalist in the world and has travelled all the way from Palestine to South Africa to teach locals about her passionate fight for the freedom of her people.
But 12-year-old Janna Jihad says she feels she is not doing enough.
“I will only feel like I have done enough when the people of Palestine, particularly children, are free. That is why I continue sending the message so that we may live in peace,” Jihad told News24.
Jihad is in South Africa to participate in the Nelson Mandela centenary events.
Most importantly for her, though, is that she will have the opportunity to engage with local human rights organisations and children, teaching them about Palestine and events in her country.
Jihad started her journalism career at the young age of seven after the killing of two family members. She said being a young journalist has taught her to have no fear when reporting the “truth about what really happens in Palestine and what happens to the children of Palestine”.
The 12-year-old said it was very important for her to stand up for children. Which is why she has been working on a campaign to raise awareness about child prisoners in her home country.
She said she was sometimes scared but tried not to let her fears control her.
“Living the way we do as Palestinians, we have to control our fears and not let them control us because if we do, we will not win the fight,” she said.
Accompanying Jihad is her mother, Nawal Tamimi, an activist from the well-known Tamimi family of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where community members, mainly children, are routinely harassed and imprisoned.
A well-known case in the community is that of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, who was arrested in the middle of the night at her home on December 19, 2017 after a video of her slapping and shoving two heavily-armed Israeli soldiers on December 15, 2017, was circulated.
She was charged with the assault of soldiers and incitement and is serving an eight-month prison sentence.
Jihad said the incident has also motivated her to create a dialogue between children of South Africa and Palestine and to talk about the arrest of Tamimi, who is her cousin.
Her mother said she was very proud.
“She is just a child and I sometimes feel afraid, but I also feel proud of how she freely expresses herself and is an activist for the children of Palestine,” Nawal said.
Jihad, who has a global following, has been awarded internationally for her media role in covering the daily struggle of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.
She started reporting with the use of her mother’s smartphone and captured videos of protests near her home which she posted on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.