Fresh TV show gives youth voice and advise
Wednesday 31 March 2004
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ZIMBABWE: Fresh TV show gives youth voice and advise


Half the appeal of "Who's Next?" is its in-your-face approach

HARARE, 10 March (PLUSNEWS) - "Who's Next?" is the provocative title of an award-winning TV talk show aimed at promoting safer sex and sexual health among Zimbabwe's urban youth. It stands out from the field of anaemic talk shows as a bold and refreshing approach to get young people discussing the issues.

"'Who's Next?' basically centres around issues that affect young people generally and personally, including peer pressure, counselling, HIV and the issue of communication between parents and young people," explained Priscilla Mujuru, programme officer for Adolescent Reproductive Health at UNAIDS, which funds the show through the National AIDS Council.

Launched three years ago, the programme now has 700,000 loyal viewers each week, eclipsing by far other youth-orientated shows, according to Susan Makore, head of programming at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Last year it won a National Arts Merit Award (NAMA), with producer/presenter Garikayi Chawasarira also scooping a UNAIDS "Southern Africa Youth Initiative on AIDS" gong in recognition of his media service to Zimbabwe.

Chawasarira believes that half the appeal of "Who's Next?" is its in-your-face approach.

"We're not your usual talk show - in a studio with an audience - and we don't prepare the youth beforehand. We simply barge in on them and question them on their activities, but in an entertaining way, and once the audience is hooked, we bring in the positive HIV/AIDS messages. They have to be characters that young people believe in," he told PlusNews.

The programme has intruded on the practice session of a Rastafarian rap duo; waylaid the national football team at the airport on their return from the African Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia; interrupted rehearsals of the backing group of popular local musician Tanga Wekwa Sando; and descended on bookworms at a local library.

"What do you do when you get up in the morning - smoke a joint?" Chawasarira asks one half of the Rastafarian rap duo. "No," the rapper responds, "I get up at 5.00 am and go for a jog ... and at 7.00 am, I'm in the studio."

He adds that he has only one sexual partner, takes neither drugs nor alcohol, and his advice to other Rasta youth who feel compelled to live dangerously is: "No two-minute marriage man - use a condom."

At the library, when one young woman is asked what she looks for in books, she replies: "I want to learn about life, so that when I reach a particular point in my life, I know what to do."

But it emerges from the discussion that libraries generally lack books on HIV/AIDS and a lively discussion ensues with the librarian on the need to establish an AIDS corner in the library for young people.

"We are bringing out the issues and discussing what's really happening. In another show we brought out the issue of women not being able to negotiate sex. We asked the girls why, although they were aware of the wisdom of using condoms, they do not encourage their boyfriends to use them," said Chawasarira.

Mujuru believes the programme has gone a long way towards teaching responsible sexual behaviour to adolescents, and is now tackling the other side of the equation - sensitising adults, be they politicians, community leaders or parents - who have an impact on the youth.

"The youth are now open about sex and sexuality and they are counseling each other. Communication with parents and leaders in society has been enhanced. Before, it was taboo to talk about such things. They can see the positive messages coming through and are less suspicious of youth centres, and of their children going there," Mujuru noted.



Recent ZIMBABWE Reports

Ambitious plans to roll out ARVs,  10/Mar/04
Free ARVs available from next month,  17/Feb/04
EU aid for health services,  26/Jan/04
Opportunity knocks on desperate doors,  23/Jan/04
High costs hamper access to ARVs,  9/Jan/04


The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Youth against AIDS
Making A difference for Children Affected by AIDS
Children and AIDS International Non-Government Organisation Network (CAINN)
AIDS Orphans Assistance Database

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.


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