Combatting the pandemic: An analysis of selected adverts on HIV/AIDS on Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation Television (September 2008 to May 2011)

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 36, issue 2, 2016, pages: 173–188
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2016.1252010
Author(s): George MavungaAcademic Development Centre,, Darmarris KagudaDepartment of Linguistics,


This article seeks to establish the communicative strategies employed in selected Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television (ZBC-TV) advertisements about HIV/AIDS between September 2008 and May 2011. Most of the adverts thematically address the following issues: destigmatisation; protection against HIV/AIDS; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; HIV transmission modes; and abstinence from premarital sex. Branches of discourse analysis such as conversational and textual analysis, pragmatics and semiotics, as well as politeness theory were used as research tools to analyse the adverts. It was concluded that the adverts also persuasively employ a variety of communicative strategies to combat the transmission of HIV and to destigmatise HIV/AIDS. Examples of these strategies include the use of metaphors, euphemism, code-mixing, indigenous languages, dramatisation, testimonials, and visuals. With the advent of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, the article recommends their use in combination with the traditional media such as television and radio in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The themes which the advertisements focus on could also be widened to include healthy living strategies for the infected. Furthermore, there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of the adverts in terms of the themes which they focus on.

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