Zululand Observer article, 20 Mar 2011
Taxis on board for major project
Jiving with Science is a new public engagement initiative of the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies. Africa Centre is an international HIV research facility with a partnership HIV testing, treatment and care programme run jointly with the KZN Department of Health. The Mtubatuba-based centre is where the HIV epidemic is one of the most severe in the world, with nearly one in two adults aged 35-40 being infected.
The project aims to foster community discussion about scientifc 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.
The project launch was held at Mtubatuba Taxi Association in February. 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.
This project has also allowed 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, Africa Centre has provided them with an opportunity to advertise and have their music heard in this often inaccessible rural setting.
To date, the support received from the music industry has been great. For example, 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 speaker in the dialogue.
Contact Astrid Treffry-Goatley (email@example.com) or Mduduzi Mahlinza at the Africa Centre Community Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
PHOTO: Charles Cornew