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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:HIV/AIDS in South African Documentary Film, c.1990-2000
Author:Hodes, RebeccaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
health policy
gender inequality
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
Health and Nutrition
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
Ethnic and Race Relations
Women's Issues
Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
mass media
Education and Training
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070601136673
Abstract:When the HIV/AIDS pandemic began in the 1980s, filmmakers harnessed the documentary format in order to foster awareness of the disease. This was also the case in South Africa, which saw the construction and perpetuation of numerous harmful myths about HIV/AIDS in tandem with rapidly increasing rates of transmission from the early 1990s. While government ineptitude meant that public education about the disease was lacking until the closing years of the century, numerous films were produced, often with corporate sponsorship, in order to educate the public about modes of transmission, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. This article analyses the content and meaning of these films, which provide important insights into the historical development of social perceptions of the disease. Born of the racially polarized and politically volatile climate of the 1990s, prejudicial and stigmatizing images were presented in many of the documentaries under review. Racism and homophobia were particularly evident. Their verbal and visual depiction is discussed in the first section of this article. The responses of successive South African governments to the pandemic, alongside its evaluation in the documentaries, is the subject of the second section. Lastly, the portrayal of gender in these films is explored, with particular attention to the themes of female vulnerability and male recalcitrance. The article concludes with some general observations about the positive and negative aspects of the documentaries, their impact on public perceptions of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, and the discourse that currently dominates HIV documentary films and programmes there. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]