Lovelife, a national HIV prevention initiative, has launched a series of television adverts called Nakanjani reflecting different aspects of HIV and Aids in South African communities.
Botha Swarts, national head of broadcasting for Lovelife, said: “It [the campaign] encapsulates a sense of resilience and creativity in the face of life challenges.”
Swarts also said the adverts were unusual in that they had no “clutter”. They are simple with no voice-overs and images are black and white. These features, he said, gave the viewer the chance to “experience the emotion and situations the characters in the adverts find themselves in”.
“We believe that it [Nakanjani] will provoke a thought process among our target audience,” said Swarts.
Nakanjani features three Public Service Announcements (PSA) that have different but related themes.
These PSAs feature young people as main characters and demonstrate different situations that youth from various communities and ethnic backgrounds find themselves in and the decisions they take as a way forward in each situation.
The first PSA addressed fears of testing summed up by its tagline: “I challenge my fears-NAKANJANI”.
One of the aims of the campaign is to teach the youth about safe sex and also to motivate them on a way forward should they find themselves in situations where they are infected or affected by HIV/Aids.
Nakanjani, which is also the tagline for each PSA, is slang for Nomakanjani, an isiZulu term that encourages one to persevere through difficult circumstances.
The viewers are also exposed to diversity in ethnicity of the characters which brings to the fore the issue that HIV and Aids isn’t exclusive in who it affects.
Although Nakanjani is aimed at educating the youth as a whole, it does not fully portray the lives of ordinary South Africans where HIV and Aids is concerned according to Wits health sociologist Prof David Dickson.
“Those running campaigns are by definition educated and are socially distant from the majority of the South African population,” said Dickson.
He said that in his experience in marketing research, these campaigns often fail to “fully grasp the cultural dynamics, belief systems, and social context of the majority of South Africans” existing in different communities, the Wits community included.
The second and third PSAs will be aired from April to June and July to September, respectively.