Fellows Blogs – Media Watch

Debating manhood at Orange Farm

At Orange Farm, a township outside Johannesburg, boys barely out of their teens, and fully grown men sit together in a queue as they wait to be circumcised.

Had I not arrived at 9am to find a fully formed queue of men - and boys - I would not have believed that this winter an average of just over 100 men and adolescents are circumcised every day. This is twice the average number recorded per day in summer...

HIV/AIDS and the Media Project fellow, Wilson Johwa, recounts his experiences at the Bophelo Pele circumcision centre at Orange Farm.

Continue reading | 12 August 2010 | 0 Comments

SA youth lead unsafe revolution against HIV

A Times article recently revealed important information about the significant strides made in halting the spread of HIV. And, this appears to be a revolution led by the youth.

“Young people have shown that they can be agents of change in the prevention revolution,” the report said.

Reader comments on the article, however made me question exactly what kind of revolution the youth were really leading against HIV.

Continue reading | 5 August 2010 | 0 Comments

A snip by any other name?

Imagine being born circumcised. Apparently, that is something of a common claim.

Dirk Taljaard, manager of the Bophelo Pele project - a male circumcision research centre at Orange Farm near Soweto - has heard this claim one too many times.

The length of the foreskin varies among men and does not always fully cover the head, leading to the perception among those with a naturally shorter foreskin that they have been naturally circumcised. “I’ve heard this many times, not once,” says Taljaard.

Continue reading | 8 July 2010 | 0 Comments

The fourth estate

It’s strange how our hypotheses never seem to work out the way we planned. And how inherent judgments about the world always find a way to sneak into the stories we construct. So called fourth estate journalism is certainly not exempt from this.

The story I constructed in my head about men and HIV starts about five years ago when I conducted in depth interviews with ten women at the paediatric HIV service based at the Groote Schuur hospital.

Most of these women talked and easily shared intimate details about their families and how the virus had changed almost every aspect of their lives. They spoke to me about love, abuse, loss and death. But what I remember most vividly is that most of them were single mothers who would do almost anything to keep themselves and their families alive.

Continue reading | 21 June 2010 | 0 Comments

Late bloomers good after all these years

A train ride from Cape Town to Newlands recently made me feel old-fashioned and dull. This was all thanks to a conversation between two grade eight learners Bonga and Sipho who were sitting opposite me.

I’m not sure if it’s because of my occupation, but to eavesdrop has become a way of life.

It started when Sipho asked Bonga whether his girlfriend was in grade 9 or 10, a question Bonga seemed keen to answer until he noticed that I was looking in their direction (an act I regret).

However, it seemed my curiosity did not deter Sipho from persisting with the question. Bonga eventually responded with “I don’t have a girlfriend.”

Sipho wasn't pleased by the answer and asked Bonga about the girl he had seen him with in class. Sipho thought she was Bonga's girlfriend.

Bonga said the girl was not his girlfriend and then asked his friend what was wrong with not having a girlfriend.

Fellow Lungi Langa is taken aback by the sexual antics of today's youth.

Continue reading | 15 June 2010 | 0 Comments
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