Main Article Content

Stigma, compulsory able-bodiedness, and queer existence in Villant Jana’s Alufeyo: A crip theory analysis

Wesley Macheso


This article calls for caution in HIV and AIDS communication by examining Villant Jana’s (2014) motion picture, Alufeyo, as a precarious attempt at communicating the dangers of HIV and AIDS and the need for prevention in contemporary Malawian cinema. The study employs critical perspectives that read or interpret the body based on the discrimination it suffers from society due to difference. Employing Robert McRuer’s Crip theory and Erving Goffman’s Stigma, the paper unmasks negative undertones in the central message of the motion picture to argue that in its elevation of compulsory able-bodiedness and by portraying HIV and AIDS as the ultimate anathema, Alufeyo does more harm than good in HIV and AIDS awareness and management by perpetrating stigma, hopelessness, and despair. This argument rests on the movie’s failure to debunk stigma in its use of theories of emotional response and in its employment of the entertainment-education model for behavioural change in HIV and AIDS management and prevention. The paper also faults the movie’s failure to present living with HIV and AIDS as normal existence. The lesson drawn from this analysis is that future attempts in HIV and AIDS communication need to be handled with utmost caution to avoid the risk of yielding negative unintended outcomes that may prove to be detrimental in the fight against the stigma that haunts the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Key words: Stigma, HIV/AIDS communication, Illness/Disability, Malawian cinema, Alufeyo

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2305-7432