Modes and resemiotisation of HIV and aids messages in the eastern region of Malawi
Kunkeyani, Thokozani Eunice
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This study explores how HIV and AIDS discourse is differently constituted and evaluated across different modes by different communities of speakers in Malawi. Particularly, the study explores how different languages and other social semiotics are used as resources across the different modes. Among other things, it further investigates the implications of the unequal social distribution of modes of communication and semiotic resources in Malawi (eastern region in particular) for the fight against HIV and AIDS. The study employed the Multimodal Discourse Analysis (MDA) approach, the notions of Resemiotisation (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006, Norris 2004, Martin and Rose 2004) and semiotic remediation (Prior and Hengst 2010) in analysing the data. This approach is necessary as the study focuses on HIV and AIDS communication which is essentially multimodal in nature. The study used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies involving questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions, document analysis and observation of television programs, traditional dances and other modes such as music videos. The study found that different practices have been semiotically remediated and reformulated for health palatability. As a result, taboos have been de-tabooed and technical terms have been ‗untechnicalised‘ so that even ordinary people are able to use health technical terms. The study also shows how cultural practices (such as having ‗live‘ sexual contact with the widow) have been semiotically remediated with the usage of condoms or herbs for cleansing rituals. The study further finds that literacy is not a major challenge for the consumption of HIV and AIDS messages. However the study also shows that wrongly presented messages such as textual overcrowding, usage of proverbs and depiction of western culture in HIV and AIDS messages obscure consumption. In addition the study reveals that proverbs can hardly iv be understood by all consumers and in turn led to division between mostly the older generation and rural who understand and the younger and urban people who have difficulty comprehending the proverbs. Lastly the study finds that some modes of communication did not prove effective, for instance, SMS, television and radio as these do not benefit all consumers as they are socioeconomically determined.