Siyayinqoba was the first television series in South Africa which included people living with HIV, their families, friends and colleagues. The show has broadened its scope to include content on other human rights and health-related issues such as non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health as well as gender norms and social issues affecting South African communities. Siyayinqoba is well known for being the show about real people telling real stories.
Synergies with Community Media Trust’s outreach work in KwaZulu-Natal saw the latest series of the Siyayinqoba television show focus on young women and girls, promoting DREAMS (Determined Resilient, Empowered, Aids-free, Mentored and Safe – a PEPFAR funded programme) messaging as well as offering an opportunity for 4 Girls Club mentors employed by CMT to gain marketable media skills as community journalists. Importantly, Siyayinqoba provided a platform for young women to share their stories and be heard.
The latest series of Siyayinqoba tells the stories of real South African young women who are at extremely high risk for HIV infection and shows how they deal with growing up in South Africa. The show content highlights positive interventions and ways to change gender norms, increase self-esteem and decrease risk of exposure to HIV and violence. This season includes documentary inserts on topics such as access to sanitary towels, gender-based violence and access to post violence care, “blessers” and “blessees”, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, teenage pregnancy and contraception, abuse and counselling, bullying and body-shaming, migrant and disabled young women’s experience of accessing sexual and reproductive health services and access to adolescent and youth-friendly health services.
Every season of Siyayinqoba incorporates a journalism-training programme. In the production of this series, CMT trained a group of young women and men. These young learners researched, filmed and sourced relevant stories from their communities and Clubs, thus allowing them to choose the documentary topics, voice their opinion and gain skills in journalism and media production. More importantly, the Siyayinqoba show provides a platform for young women to tell their own stories which are often not covered by the mainstream media.
We had the pleasure of speaking to 4 of the learners and this is what they had to say:
“The Siyayinqoba programme helped me gain confidence and skills needed in the field of community journalism. Listening to an individual’s story and learning from them during interviews was amazing. The challenging part of the entire experience for me was that other characters will disappoint me at the very last minute.”
“My experience as a community journalist was challenging at first because I feared approaching the girls and being rejected by them as they were the best candidates for the stories I had to tackle. When I started the interviews most of the girls I interviewed were very open which made it much easier for me to ask questions. I really enjoyed my days as a journalist more especially because I became more confident and overcame my anxiety. Furthermore, the stories that the girls shared taught me a lot.”
“Working on Siyayinqoba has been a great learning experience. It has made me to be more outspoken. The theoretical information gained through our training sessions helped me a lot when it came to going out into the communities to conduct research about my particular insert. Seeing everything come together was amazing and I just want to do it over again.”
“It’s been a great experience working in the Siyayinqoba programme. Through the show, people have access to information to make informed decisions that will impact their health and lifestyles. I have gained knowledge on how to work with various community members on the different media platforms made available to us as well as how to deal with people from all walks of life. Being a Siyayinqoba community journalist afforded me opportunities that will ensure a bright future for myself.”
The much-awaited season 9 is a documentary-based, 13-part series with a keen focus on the issues that young women and girls face. Siyayinqoba will be broadcast on Fridays on SABC 1 at 14:00pm from 6 October 2017.
This season of Siyayinqoba was made possible by:
- African Women’s Development Fund
- Anglo American Chairman’s Fund
- Department of Trade and Industry, RSA
- National Film and Video Foundation
- National Lotteries Commission
- Open Society Foundation of South Africa
- SABC Education