Culture, Entertainment and Health Promotion in Africa

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This book brings together multiple voices and positions from Africa. These voices, assembled during a 2003 Soap Summit held in Nairobi, are powerful and varied and suggest ways in which issues of health could be tackled in an entertaining manner. The summit organised by Population Communications International - Africa. highlighted the critical role that the arts can play in ensuring better health, especially among the youth. It resulted from the recognition that young people in Africa are faced with a myriad of problems and complications as they struggle to deal with growth and identity formation, within a globalising social and economic setup. They are in dire need of information on their own sexuality and how to deal with it and are getting conflicting signals from the mass media, as well as their immediate environment. The youth are under intense pressure from their peers to engage in premarital sex, which is in most cases unprotected. The HIV/AIDS epidemic presents frightening challenges and all health programs should look for ways of dealing with it. Of great to concern is the vulnerability of women and girls in Africa due to rising poverty, gender violence, lack of access to youth-friendly reproductive health facilities, and lack of a conducive infrastructure especially in informal settlements and in the rural areas. The myriad problems presented by the pandemic require a multi-sectoral approach. This book brings together a number of strategies being undertaken in Africa that combine entertainment and education in a positive way. The voices from the Soap Summit are interspersed with those of the Editor to create a dialogue on entertainment-education that contributes to the discussion on the way social change might be undertaken.

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Published 15 August 2005
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Culture, Entertainment and Health Promotion in Africa Edited by Kimani Njogu
This book brings together multiple voices and positions from Africa.
These voices, assembled during a 2003 Soap Summit held in Nairobi,
are powerful and varied and suggest ways in which issues of health Culture, Entertainment and
could be tackled in an entertaining manner.
The summit organised by Population Communications International
- Africa. highlighted the critical role that the arts can play in ensuring Health Promotion in Africa
better health, especially among the youth. It resulted from the
recognition that young people in Africa are faced with a myriad of
problems and complications as they struggle to deal with growth and
identity formation, within a globalising social and economic setup.
They are in dire need of information on their own sexuality and how
to deal with it and are getting confl icting signals from the mass
media, as well as their immediate environment. The youth are under
intense pressure from their peers to engage in premarital sex, which
is in most cases unprotected.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic presents frightening challenges and all health
programs should look for ways of dealing with it. Of great to concern
is the vulnerability of women and girls in Africa due to rising poverty,
gender violence, lack of access to youth-friendly reproductive health
facilities, and lack of a conducive infrastructure especially in informal
settlements and in the rural areas. The myriad problems presented
by the pandemic require a multi-sectoral approach. This book brings
together a number of strategies being undertaken in Africa that
combine entertainment and education in a positive way. The voices
from the Soap Summit are interspersed with those of the Editor to
create a dialogue on entertainment-education that contributes to the
discussion on the way social change might be undertaken.
Kimani Njogu, an Associate Professor of Kiswahili and African Languages, is
a Director of Twaweza Communications and Africa Health and Development
International (AHADI). He is a translator of signifi cant works into Kiswahili
and has been involved in developing socially committed entertainment
programs globally. He has provided training on culturally sensitive and issue
based entertainment programming in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, India,
China, St. Lucia, Grenada, Madagascar, Peru, Pakistan, Palau, Nigeria, Laos,
Mexico and Peru, among other countries. Kimani is also a writer, literary
critic and columnist.CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT AND HEALTH
PROMOTION IN AFRICA
edited by
Kimani Njogu CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT AND HEALTH
PROMOTION IN AFRICA
Kimani Njogu
Population Communications International – Africa 1
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Designed&Publishedby
TwawezaCommunicationsLtd.,
P.O.Box66872 00800Westlands,
TwawezaHouse,ParklandsRoad,
MpesiLane,NairobiKenya
Email:twaweza@nbnet.co.ke
Tel:0203752009
Fax:0203753941
for
PopulationCommunicationsInternational–Africa
©KimaniNjogu11 2005
ISBN9966974326
Allrightsreserved. 11 Premissionsforpermissiontomakecopiesofanypartofthe
workshouldbemailedtothepublisher.
ThemainfundingforthispublicationwasprovidedbytheFordFoundation
officeofEasternAfricabysupportingtheNairobiSoapSummitorganized
throughPopulationCommunicationsInternational–Africa
PrintedinKenya,EastAfrica
11
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1,1Contents
Dedication ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- vi
Acknowledgements ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- vii
Introduction -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1
I: Notes on Reproductive Health and Soap Operas in Africa --------------------- 7
II: Transcending Colonial and Neo-Colonial Pathological
Hangovers to Unleash Creativity ------------------------------------------ 36
III: History of Entertainment Education in Africa ---------------------------------- 50
IV: Social Change Programming -------------------------------------------------------- 61
V: Ushikwapo Shikamana: Increasing Dialogue in Communities ---------------- 76
VI: Culture as a Friend ------------------------------------------------------------------ 102
VII: Interpersonal and Inter-generational Communication ----------------------- 107
VIII: Art and History ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 141
IX: Meeting Donor Expectations------------------------------------------------------ 150
X: Research, Monitoring and Evaluation ------------------------------------------- 156
XI: Writing and Producing Issue Based Entertainment Programs --------------- 175
XII: Sustainability: A Possibility or a Mirage? ---------------------------------------- 185
XIII: Entertainment: Media Regulation vis-à-vis Democracy and Health -------- 195
XIV: A Poem: ‘A Praise Song for You’ ------------------------------------------------- 207
XV: Conclusion: Way Forward/Declaration 210 1
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Dedication
Dedicated to Gideon Kariuki “Kiki” (1980 – 2004) taken away by a road
accidentatthepeakofhisyouthfulyears.
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Acknowledgement
This book would not have been possible without the support of many
people.First,Iwouldlike tothanktheFordFoundation,OfficeofEastern
Africa for supporting the 2003 Africa Soap Summit on “Making
Entertainment Useful” from which most of the ideas in this book were
presented. The support of Dr. Tade Aina, Dr. Mary Ann Burris and Rob
Burnethasseenthesethoughtssharedwidely.
Secondly, I am indebted to the team at Twaweza Communications and
Population Communications International for the commitment, devotion
and shared vision. I would like to specifically thank Joyce Njoki,
Catherine Gichuhi, Mary Mugo, George Wakaba, PJ Muriuki, Lucy
Muriithi, John Shikuku, and the late Gideon Kariuki (Kiki) for
withstanding pressure of putting the Summit together. Equally, I am
grateful to the PCI staff in New York, notably David Andrews, Kate
Randolph and Lillian Chege, for their support as I worked on this
publication.
The participants at the June 2003 Soap Summit in Nairobi deserve a
special mention. They were vibrant, innovative, and generous! Without
themthisbookwouldnothavebeenpossible.
Toyouall,Isay“Asantenisana!”
KimaniNjogu
Nairobi,October2004
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Introduction
Media efforts are critical in health promotion and there are numerous
initiatives in Africa that are using media outlets to improve the quality of
life for people, in a holistic sense.11Some of these initiatives address
gender equity, HIV/AIDS, poverty, maternal child health, malaria,
environmental conservation, and access to food, shelter, and education.
The mediums for these interventions range from spot advertisements to
music videos, magazine programs, cartoon strips, folk performances,
sports, and radio and television soap operas.11 Popular culture is being
viewed as a vital way of dealing with serious issues through community
involvementandparticipation.
This book results from discussionsat the 2003 Nairobi SoapSummit,
convened by Population Communications International – Africa and
Twaweza Communications.11 The summit on Making Entertainment Useful
brought together organizations and individuals who are making
entertainment useful in promoting health. It was a celebration of the arts
in all their various manifestations.11The summit focused not only on
issues and messages placed in communication interventions, but it also
tookacriticalviewoftheaestheticappealofdifferentartforms. 11 Itwasan
appreciation of artistic interventions, be they in the form of soap operas,
music, cartoons and comics, performing theatre, folk theatre,
photographyorpainting. 111
The Summit was a reflection on and celebration of cultural
productions. In Culture and Imperialism (1993) Edward Said has
perceptively delineated two aspects of culture. First, he argues, culture
refers to practices in the arts, communication, and representation distinct
to a significant degree from the political, economic and social realms and
which exist within an aesthetic dimension. Cultural products have the
abilitytostimulateouremotionsinapleasurablemanner.Second,culture
refers to each society’s granary of the best that has been thought and
known; that has been experienced. It is what shapes a society in a
particularway.Viewedinthislight,cultureisaformofidentity.
In the contemporary world culture is mediated by a number of
experiences both internal and external. Practices are interrogated,
eradicated,revised,andpromoted.CultureisAfricaisinmotion.
Culture, Entertainment and Health Promotion 1
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The Soap Summit was, therefore, a moment in Nairobi for us to see
howcultureisbeingmediatedandre energizedinordertoaddressissues
ofhealth.
In organizing this Summit, we aimed at giving participants the
opportunitytodiscuss,amongotherthings:
Language,literatureandsocialchange
Mediaandhealtheducation
InterventionsonHIV/AIDSandtheroleofculture
BackgroundforsoapoperasinAfrica
Storytelling&modeling
Traditionalandnewpopularcultures
Languageandthearts
Cultureasrawmaterial
Representationofsexualityinthearts
Intergenerationalcommunication
ArtandthemakingofAfricanhistories
Urbanizationandthemedia
Mediaandgender
Monitoringofmediainterventions
MeetingDonorexpectations
RegulationofEntertainment
SustainabilityofIssueBasedEntertainment
The Summit also provided an opportunity to participants to reflect on art
asacreativeinterventionthatprovokescriticalthinking.
The Summit brought together media practitioners, educationists,
policy makers, donors, and health workers who shared and reflected on
how popular culture can best be utilized for the good of society. 111
Participants were from Botswana, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa,
Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, India and the USA.11 All of these countries
have utilized entertainment in interventions on critical health and social
issues.
The Summit examined various forms of entertainment from a
number of perspectives, including culture, history, traditional and
evolving values, innovations, language, visual images, and art as beauty.
It considered the theoretical underpinnings of entertainment as a way of
dealing with social issues, programmatic interventions on the continent
2 Culture, Entertainment and Health Promotion
11
11
111