Structural factors, gender roles, and HIV/AIDS prevalence in South Africa: Is theatre missing the point?

  • Chijioke Uwah
  • Patrick Ebewo


Structural factors such as unemployment and its attendant poverty remains one of the most overlooked but critical factor in the fight against  HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Health communication scholars have at various times established the link between poverty and high risk sexual behaviour in Africa and most parts of the third world countries. Theatre’s HIV/AIDS campaigns have failed to fully address this issue in the design of their performances in schools/communities across the country (South Africa). In a recent research conducted in the three provinces of South Africa involving three theatre groups, findings indicate that while theatre focuses on behaviour change, it has failed to critically examine one of the major factors–unemployment and poverty–that influences high risk sexual behaviour. This paper, argues that though structural factors have contributed to the high prevalence levels of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, theatre’s performances in most parts of the country have not given them the attention they deserve.


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eISSN: 1596-9231