n African Journal of Rhetoric - Contradictory HIV/ AIDS rhetoric in Zimbabwe : an analysis of selected online media texts

Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


This article employs Text Analysis within the framework of the Arena Model, to examine forty one online media texts in order to analyse the Zimbabwean HIV/AIDS intervention model and how it impacted on HIV/AIDS rhetoric used by government officials and online media. The article reveals that HIV/AIDS rhetoric was mainly used by politicians from the previous government of Zimbabwe as a face and face management strategy to paint a positive image of government and ZANU PF before relevant stakeholders like potential voters, donors, regional and international communities.

The article demonstrates that the strategy of using HIV/AIDS rhetoric for political grandstanding did not yield success owing to inherent flaws in the HIV/AIDS intervention model used and government officials' apparent lack of commitment to HIV/AIDS activities. The article further reveals that the Zimbabwean HIV/AIDS model that rests heavily on a subsystem arena which oftentimes overlapped as a political party engineered leadership arena that excluded the much vital macro arena, is the architect of the contradictory HIV/AIDS rhetoric under discussion. I proceed to argue that despite the government officials' use of all sorts of appeals, imagery, symbolism and endorsements in the public media and other platforms, the online media's use of whistle blowing, thematisation, visuals and intertextuality, managed to send effective messages locally and abroad that dislodged misleading rhetoric produced by political agents and emitted by pro-government media.
In the article, I analyse speeches by political agents, HIV/AIDS activists, and online media reports by UN officials, Human Rights Watch (July 2005), UNAIDS and WHO (2005). Lastly, articles on rape committed against girls and women particularly during the 2002 and March 2008 elections are also examined.

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