Jiving with Science is a new public engagement initiative of the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies. The Africa Centre, a joint project of the UKZN and the Medical Research Council of Southern Africa, is an international HIV research facility with a partnership HIV testing, treatment and care programme run jointly with the KZN Department of Health. It is based in rural, northern KwaZulu-Natal where the HIV epidemic is one of the most severe in the world with nearly one in two adults aged 35-40 being infected.
Jiving with Science aims to foster community discussion about scientific research and to bring evidence-based HIV health promoting messages to everyday spaces such as public transportation, leisure spaces and shopping precincts. It involves developing, distributing and evaluating three CDs over two years. Each CD contains a radio-style information interview, interspersed with popular music, targeted HIV health promotion messages and calls to action.
Two of the three CDs are now complete, and are being distributed free-of-charge to key stakeholders in the local community including taxi drivers, shebeen owners and hair salon operators. Taxis are the main mode of transport in the Africa Centre research area, with almost two-thirds of the population (an estimated 50 to 60 000) using a taxi on a weekly basis. Each has a CD player, although most operators only have a couple of CDs to play. Thus, the primary target audience in this initiative is the users of local mini-bus taxis. On February 13 the project was launched at the Mtubatuba Taxi Association. The event was well-attended with close to 200 taxi drivers present. At the launch drivers received two CDs together with an HIV fact sheet, a Jiving with Science t-shirt and a meal. Once the Africa Centre has received feedback from the drivers on commuter responses to these first two CDs, a third disc will be designed and distributed.
The Africa Centre anticipates that these informative CDs will improve the public understanding of HIV transmission and prevention strategies. Furthermore, through this project the Centre has engaged new sectors in the community who are now actively participating in its research and efforts to prevent HIV transmission. This project has also enabled the Africa Centre to engage partners in the music industry who, in line with social responsibility agendas, have waived the production rights on selected popular music tracks. In exchange the Centre has provided them with an opportunity to advertise and have their music heard in this often-inaccessible rural setting.
DJ Tira, who is the owner of the famous Afrotainment studios and is originally from Hlabisa, has taken a special interest in this project. DJ Tira has donated six Afrotainment songs and also plays the part of the main actor in the dialogue. Another important contributor is Malcom Nhleko of Maltre Productions, who recorded the CD dialogue at his studio in Newlands West. Other partners in the music industry who have provided the project with songs include Sheer Sound, EMI, Gallo, Abafana Bokuthula and Debrah Gumede. Currently, the Centre is compiling the music for the third CD and is looking for hip songs to include.
For more information, please contact Dr. Astrid Treffry-Goatley (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jiving with science webpages
News date: 2011-03-04