The role of culture, taboo and language in engendering the effective dissemination of the HIV/AIDS message in Africa

SOURCE: Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2012
TITLE AUTHOR(S): E.K.Klu, G.Frempong, D.A.Odoi
KEYWORDS: AFRICA, CULTURAL DIVERSITY, HIV/AIDS, LANGUAGE POLICY
DEPARTMENT: Education and Skills Development (ESD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7708

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Abstract

Sex and its related activities are traditionally not discussed in African societies because of the sensitivity the topic evokes. African culture prohibits the open discussion of such topics even at home. It is also a taboo to mention the names of certain body parts irrespective of the situation, condition or environment. Where necessary euphemisms are used and these most often distort facts. However, with the current havoc being caused by HIV/AIDS to humankind, especially, in sub-Saharan Africa, the topic can no longer be ignored. It has to be spoken about and discussed openly, but how to do without crossing the boundaries of societal norms is the problem. This paper concludes with a call on African language practitioners and cultural experts to team up with the relevant health authorities and other stakeholders to come up with the right terminologies and concepts on how issues about HIV/AIDS can be discussed openly without breaking any norms and values.