A Kierkegaardian-existentialist critique of pragmatic communication on HIV/AIDS, with respect to selected Ikageng residents
Chasi, Colin Tinei
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HIV/AIDS is arguably the most terrible epidemic in recorded history and communication for prevention is the most important instrument that is available to halt the pandemic. The masses have universally gained awareness of HIV/AIDS and how it must be prevented. Yet the pandemic continues to grow. The focus of this research is on the Ikageng township community of Potchefstroom. Issues related to high-risk HIV/AIDS behaviours are seen from the Kierkegaardian-existentialist approach as symptomatic of individual existential dilemmas of the historical being. A phenomenological look is presented in order to illustrate the existential phenomenon of the dilemma of HIV/AIDS. It is argued that current approaches do not recognise HIV/AIDS as an existential phenomenon and hence messages on HIV/AIDS do not aim to address the existential dilemma of the aesthetic Black people of South Africa. This research critiques current communication on HIV/AIDS, which roots its methods in Western rationalism. It is emphasised that life and death issues cannot be conceptualised and communicated in the same way as selling the image and products of a toothpaste manufacturing company. With the affirmation of findings from phenomenological interviews and hermeneutic phenomenological analysis, it is suggested that existential communication is needed to facilitate the individual to choose in freedom to protect themself from contracting HIV/AIDS. Yet, continuously the researcher refuses to advance simple tonics for life-sized dilemmas. Still, ironically, throughout the text there is hope that the being finds success in trying; that being is becoming. Resting on failed communication strategies and possibilities is not good enough. Current communication strategies in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic go against the existential grain of being. If this existential crisis is not faced, it seems inevitable that future dangers will cause as much death and destruction as the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
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