Ndlovu’s research was titled Exploring barriers and opportunities for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) implementation among Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) at high risk of HIV infection at Vulindlela Caprisa clinic. Her study is based on the understanding that for new prevention methods to be effective, public health and health behaviour interventions need to consider culture.
‘Perpetuation of HIV in rural KZN is due to multiple factors, including cultural beliefs, practices and values. The introduction of PrEP for HIV prevention has presented an opportunity not only for a decline in HIV mortality but also a HIV prevention method for AGYW in South Africa,’ said Ndlovu. ‘Existing prevention methods have proven to be ineffective for this demographic because much of it relied on negotiation with partners. Clinical trials have now demonstrated the efficacy of oral PrEP, however social and cultural factors must be considered in uptake of the new prevention methods.’
Hardy’s research explored television and soap operas representations of patriarchy and gender construction within South African communities as seen in Uzalo. ‘As media has evolved culture has with it. The consumption of television media in particular by society contributes to the overall dynamics of identity, representation and relationships in our communities,’ said Hardy. He believes that his research could potentially aid in creating an understanding into how oppressive ideologies such as patriarchy are disseminated through the media and television as well as how they contribute to unequal perceptions of women in society.
South Africa House Musician Wasserfalls’ research seeks to investigate the representation and decoding of gender-based inequality in Uzalo, South Africa’s most-watched soap opera. Uzalo is an interesting case study in this regards as the two families, initially headed by men, are now headed by women. ‘It is important to understand how these encoded messages of empowerment are decoded by audiences, to understand whether or not they are facilitating or challenging the gender-based inequalities prevalent in society; and as a result empowering women,’ she explains.
The study is informed by the continued presence of gender-based inequality in forms such as gender-based violence, femicide and uneven pay in South Africa. ‘It is important to note that different gender expectations differ from society to society and although patriarchy power structures dominate in most societies globally, the manifestations of these power structures may vary. My research concerns itself with the Zulu culture,’ she adds.
Masambuka’s research was titled Exploring the role of Entertainment Education in creating demand for Oral PrEP uptake among adolescent girls and young women in Vulindlela. ‘In consideration of the fundamental role of this group in the future of the nation and in breaking the cycle of the pandemic, numerous efforts have been directed to find a prevention strategy that AGYW can easily access and more importantly be in direct control over,’ said Masambuka. ‘Off late, a biomedical measure, PrEP, has been introduced in South Africa with exact specifications.’
She believes that the effectiveness of PrEP among others however depends on awareness among AGYW to enhance demand creation. She suggests the feasibility of Entertainment education strategies in filling the current gap.
Ndwandwe’s research looked at Representation of masculinity and femininity in South African Soap Opera: a case study of Uzalo to examine whether they further support or deconstruct the binary socialisation of gender.
‘South African authors have engaged with the discourse of soap opera as a feminine genre. However, there is a lack of scholarly attention on gender diversity and fluidity as represented on soap opera. This is problematic as there is the growing trend in discussion and the representation of gender fluidity in other popular culture,’ explains Ndwandwe. ‘Soap opera has been utilised to empower and provide feminine spaces reflecting social contexts, such may also be true to members of the queer community.’
She found that South African society is a heteronormative which means gender is still socialised and understood as the binary of male and female, which possesses a threat to those individuals who do not identify within it.
Pretorius’s research is to understand how an Afrikaans identity can be negotiated as part of a broader South African and African identity in the current socio-political climate and how the various discourses around decolonisation and the promotion of African value systems might impact such a negotiation.
‘Much has been written about both Afrikaans identity in post-Apartheid South Africa as well as how the heritage landscape in the new South Africa can work to construct a national identity,’ said Pretorius. ‘However, there seems to be room to look at how the latest developments in the heritage landscape impacts on any negotiation of an Afrikaner identity, and more specifically how looking at the purely formal aspects of the statue of M.T. Steyn can act as markers of meaning that guide such a negotiation.’
Ntake’s research explored the commemorative efforts of the Zulu warriors in Isiqu as experienced by the community of Magaga Mission. ‘Masking the troubled history of the country, a heritage landscape that sought reconciliation was to be adopted. Reconcilement meant that cultural differences would not be emphasised, instead a multicultural nation was celebrated. These post-apartheid monuments built by the government were often built with little to no public consultation,’ she said.
Jani’s study analysed the linguistic character of newspapers content pertaining to black African migrants during the period 2016 – 2017. The research findings from his study indicate that black African migrants in the two newspapers (Daily News and Daily Sun) are presented using more negative than positive metaphors.
‘One of the critical findings of this study is the negative association of black African migrants with ‘illegality’, ‘drug dealing’ and ‘crime’. Few newspapers report on the successes of migrants. The press tends to cover more of the gory activities of the black African migrants,’ said Jani. Overall, the study established that black African migrants are portrayed negatively in most news articles.