Online from: 1992
Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare
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|Title:||Beyond silence and rumor: Storytelling as an educational tool to reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS in South Africa|
|Author(s):||Jacques Zeelen, (Department of Lifelong Learning, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands), Hieke Wijbenga, (Department of Lifelong Learning, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands), Marga Vintges, (PHRU/ ANOVA Health Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa), Gideon de Jong, (Department of Lifelong Learning, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)|
|Citation:||Jacques Zeelen, Hieke Wijbenga, Marga Vintges, Gideon de Jong, (2010) "Beyond silence and rumor: Storytelling as an educational tool to reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS in South Africa", Health Education, Vol. 110 Iss: 5, pp.382 - 398|
|Keywords:||Health education, HIV, Personal health, Rural regions, South Africa, Storytelling|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09654281011068531 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors would like to thank the Department of Health and Social Development in Limpopo; the Khutšo Kurhula HIV project in Tzaneen; the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Johannesburg; all clients and health care workers of Jamela-, Carlotta-, Kuhjwana-, Zangoma-, and Shiluvana clinics in the Greater Tzaneen sub district; Maureen Mashabane, the student from the University of Limpopo who helped with the translation process; and, last but not least, the storyteller Bernard Makelana.|
Purpose – This paper aims to explore the role of a small-scale project around storytelling as a form of informal education in five health clinics in rural areas of the Limpopo Province in South Africa. The aim of the project is to decrease the stigma around HIV/AIDS and to start an open dialogue in local communities about the disease.
Design/methodology/approach – This is an exploratory study using a qualitative approach, which was carried out in 2005/2006, that focused on perceptions of participants from the audience of the project and health practitioners.
Findings – The research findings emphasize the importance of involvement of a storyteller who can play an influential role in local rural communities by breaking the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and providing people with little or no education with simple but effective messages about the disease. Stories are embedded in local traditions and make use of metaphors, like dialogues between animals. Beside, stories are a form of “edutainment”: education enriched with entertainment.
Research limitations/implications – Owing to budgetary and time constraints insight into the impact of the project on the way the members of the audience protect themselves and deal with the essential issues of sexuality and relationships in their daily life as a result of storytelling was not gained.
Originality/value – Owing to its personal approach a project around storytelling in rural areas in South Africa is vital, because it seems to suit the local context better than nationwide health educational programmes which are normally disseminated through mass education.
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