‘Don’t be a fool, put a condom on your tool’ - Effecten van retorische figuren in hiv/aids-voorlichtingsmateriaal in Zuid-Afrika | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 49, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729


The South African health organisation loveLife tries to provoke youths to talk about HIV/AIDS by presenting them with billboards and radio advertisements with messages that include complicated rhetorical figures that will supposedly puzzle them. In order to test the assumption that puzzlement about health messages is related to willingness to talk about these messages, two studies were carried out in Limpopo Province, South Africa. In the first study five loveLife billboards, together with a questionnaire, were presented to 149 freshmen. In the second study structured interviews were conducted with thirty secondary schools learners about six HIV/AIDS posters and six HIV/AIDS radio advertisements from loveLife and other South African health organisations. Neither in the first, nor in the second study was support found for the expectation that presenting youths with a puzzling health message will contribute to engaging them in discussions about the theme addressed in the message. By contrast, a positive correlation was found between the participants’ perceived comprehension of a message and their self-reported inclination to dialogue. No clear relations were found between the use of rhetorical figures (tropes or schemes) and the effects of the billboards and the radio messages. Participants indicated that they were willing to discuss the themes addressed in either a poster or radio advertisement because they appreciated the message and felt that its content was relevant to them, rather than because the message was puzzling or difficult to understand. The participants’ overall actual comprehension of the messages, however, proved to be strikingly low.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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