Projects & Events

Writing the stuff of our lives

15 October 2009

The “Sex, Soaps and Sensationalism” discussion forum that was held in March 2009 around the issue of MCPs in the popular media, made it clear that there is a need for continuing discussion and debate around the challenges of writing stories that involve the slippery issue of sex in South Africa.

Thus, on 15 October 2009 the HIV/AIDS & the Media Project and USAID/Johns Hopkins University Programme in South Africa presented the first of a series of intimate, closed door roundtable discussion forums with experts and popular media practitioners on the issue of sex and HIV in South African soap operas.

The forum was facilitated by Neil McCarthy, head writer for Rhythm City. Anton Harber from Wits Journalism opened the event, followed by a presentation by Natalie Ridgard from the HIV/AIDS and the Media Project on sex and HIV in soap operas.

A number of key creators of South African soap operas ensured that the ensuing discussion was both fruitful and engaging. They included Generations head writer Chris Blomkamp and artistic director Mark Graham, Isidingo head writer Ilse van Hemert, Scandal head writer Julie Barker, SABC senior commissioning editor Vanessa Jansen and Khetiwe Ngocobo from the drama department, as well as Steven Raymond from Pixcomm and Harriet Gavshon from Curious Pictures.

Download the transcript below, listen to the audio recording and read Neil McCarthy’s article: Soapies, Sex and Social Responsibility on Bizcomm.

All photographs were taken by Nadine Hutton from 2point8.

Publications and Presentations

  • Programme (174.38 KB) Outline of the forum proceedings.
  • Concept Note (169.64 KB) Overview of the goals and intentions of the discussions.
  • Sex, soaps and HIV:Multiple and Concurrent Partnerships in South African soap operas (1.06 MB) Presentation by Natalie Ridgard.