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Entertainment Education Colloquium

The Entertainment Education Colloquium celebrates 20 years of entertainment television and the educational properties it has brought with it for South Africa. The colloquium will run from 9 to 10 October 2014 at The School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University.

 view colloquium poster here: EE Colloquium poster


Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies and Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE)

Date: Thursday 9 and Friday 10 October 2014, at the African Media Matrix, Rhodes University


2014 marks not only 20 years of democracy but 20 years of entertainment education in the South Africa. The following proposal argues that as South African society reflects on reaching a milestone in democracy, health communication practitioners, educators and academics should also take the opportunity to engage in a discussion about past, present and future successes, opportunities and prospects in the field of EE.

The success of entertainment education in South Africa, such as the achievements of the Soul City and LoveLife interventions, have demonstrated how well young people can respond to creative health communication. This realisation has paved the way for the creative mobilisation of entertainment education formats on a variety of platforms.

The strategy of combining educational messages within entertainment programming has become familiar within the South African media landscape, and the country has become known for its internationally acclaimed television programming, such as Yizo Yizo and Soul City, which have been admired as leading the development of the genre. Other EE programs produced include Soul Buddyz, Tsha Tsha, Gazlam, 4play - Sex Tips for Girls, Heartlines, and more recent productions like Hopeville, Skeem Saam and Intersexions.  

These programmes have not developed in a vacuum; they have been part of a long tradition that utilises broadcasting in particular to address past inequalities. But while television in has historically been central to EE’s dissemination in South Africa, social media, radio and drama and peer-mentoring have also been employed in innovative ways. Intersexions in particular has been noted for its recent successful multi-platform approach that draws in audiences through social media engagement; Soul City connects it mass media campaigns to the individual through interpersonal engagement at a community level; similarly, Brothers for Life anchors their national campaign in community activities.

Thus it could be argued that the donor-driven investment that has been made in broadcasting as an educational tool in South Africa has reaped wider rewards than television alone can account for, given the paucity of funding and the lack of state-led interventions. Broadcasters, donors, activists and audiences have come to realise the value of entertainment education and the stakes are high for future interventions.

It seems appropriate, then, that this milestone of 20 years of democracy and of 20 years of entertainment education be used by researchers and practitioners in the health communication sector to examine its past achievements and possibilities for future developments. This is a call to bring together interested parties to hold a colloquium at Rhodes University to discuss the state of research that has been produced in the health communication discipline in the last two decades.


Thursday 9 October 2014


8.30am  to 9.00am: welcome tea

9.00am – 9.15am official welcomes:


  • Priscilla Boshoff: School of Journalism and Media Studies
  • Tom Martin: Dean of Humanities Rhodes University
  • Larry Strelitz: Head, Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies


9.15am to 11.00am:  1994 – 2014 Changing contexts, contexts of change: health and health communication in the new South Africa, 1994-2014.

  • Rebecca Hodes (Centre for Social Science Research, UCT): The SABC and Health Communication: 'Antiretrovirals are African medicines: HIV treatment activism on South African television'.
  • Laura Myers (CADRE): It's not about messages: how successful entertainment education provokes attitude and behaviour change.


11.00am to 11.30am Tea

11.30 to 1.00pm: An overview of 20 years of EE

  • Raashied Galant (Soul City): Reflection on 20 Years of Soul City – An Historical Reflection on the multi-season Soul City It’s Real television series
  • Blessing Makwambeni (Cape Peninsula University of Technology): Theoretical gains in EE programmin SA: reflections from Tsha Tsha and Soul City


1.00pm to 2.00pm LUNCH


2.00pm to 3.30pm Making a difference and knowing you’re making it:


  • Emma Durden (Theatre, Health and Development Consultant): Ukuvala igebe .... Closing the gap between intervention and participation in entertainment education initiatives
  • Kriss Barker (Population Media Centre): “Sex, Soap and Social Change:  The Sabido Methodology of Entertainment-Education” 
  • Debbie Van Zyl (Community Media Trust): Testing Health Communication Strategies and the Integration of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services into existing Community and School Health strategies in order to address Teenage Pregnancy


3.30pm to 3.45pm TEA

3.45p to 5.15pm:  Inspiring change; sustaining change

  • Scott Burnett (LoveLife) and Tommaso Milani (Wits): "Inch by inch mpintshi yam": Changing the world with who we are
  • Nyasha Mboti (University of Johannesburg): Zim-dancehall as entertainment (sexual) pedagogy




FRIDAY 10 October

9.00am to 10.45am: Intersexions: the making of -- and the meaning of – a new generation EE programme.

  • Richard Delate (JHHESA): The changing context of health education funding
  • Harriet Gavshon (Quizzical Pictures): Producing Intersexions:  producers, scriptwriters and actors: what Intersexions does differently
  • Mvuzo Ponono (Rhodes University): Interpreting Intersexions within the township home

10.45 – 11.15am Tea

11.15am to 12.30pm: Role models, research and reach: some lessons from Intersexions

  • Priscilla Boshoff (Rhodes University): Intersexions: gendered narratives in the sexual network
  • Marc Caldwell (Fort Hare University) Analysing talk about Intersexions on Facebook
  • Laura Myers (CADRE): ‘I don’t want to be a Zolile anymore’: how viewers’ identification with Intersexions I and II facilitated critical reflection and new communicative spaces within relationships.


12.30pm – 1.30 pm: Closing discussion:

  • Harry Dugmore (Rhodes University): “Overview and summary: key themes from the colloquium, and useful insights for future practice: the challenges of the next 20 years of Behaviour Change EE”


1.30pm – 2.00pm lunch

2.00pm transport to Siybuya for networking game drive (3.30pm to 7.00pm) and dinner. (7.00pm to 9.15pm)

9.30pm return to B&Bs in Grahamstown

Last Modified: Wed, 08 Oct 2014 09:19:06 SAST