Language practices in radio programs on HIV/AIDS: A call for culturally-sanctioned ways of communication

Feliciano Chimbutane


Mozambique is one of the African countries hardest hit by the HIV epidemic, with 2010 data showing a prevalence rate of 11.5% among adults (Instituto Nacional de Saúde (INS), Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE) and ICF Macro 2010). The effect of the pandemic on the country’s human development and related economic growth is potentially devastating as HIV and AIDS are most prevalent in adults in their productive prime. Through specialised programs, the media have been playing a key role in education initiatives aiming at reducing the infection rate in the country. Amongst other things, these programs have revealed a number of linguistic and sociolinguistic patterns which are worth being investigated. Considering HIV/AIDS radio programs broadcast in Changana, I show how Changana speakers have been developing their language as well as reinventing their discourses in order to respond to these new context-specific communicative demands. In this paper, I consider some of the communication strategies used, including the coinage of terminology and the engineering of socially appropriate ways of talking about sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases in public spaces.



Changana; Communication strategies; cultural practices; HIV/AIDS education and prevention; Mozambique; sexuality

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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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