SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS

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Accounting for youth audiences’ resistances to HIV and AIDS messages in the television drama Tsha Tsha in South Africa

Blessing Makwambeni, Abiodun Salawu


Theoretical debates and literature on E-E efforts in Africa have largely focussed on understanding how and why interventions on HIV and AIDS are effective in influencing behaviour change among target communities. Very few studies have sought to investigate and understand why a substantial number of targeted audiences resist the preferred readings that are encoded into E-E interventions on HIV and AIDS. Using cultural studies as its conceptual framework and reception analysis as its methodology, this study investigated and accounted for the oppositional readings that subaltern black South African youths negotiate from Tsha Tsha, an E-E television drama on HIV and AIDS in South Africa. Results from the study show that HIV and AIDS messages in Tsha Tsha face substantial resistances from situated youth viewers whose social contexts of consumption, shared identities, quotidian experiences and subjectivities, provide critical lines along which the E-E text is often resisted and inflected. These findings do not only hold several implications for E-E practice and research, they further reflect the utility of articulating cultural studies and reception analysis into a more nuanced theoretical and methodological framework for evaluating the ‘impact’ of E-E interventions on HIV and AIDS.

Keywords: audience reception, cultural studies, entertainment-education, HIV and AIDS

AJOL African Journals Online