Transforming HIV and AIDS Perceptions: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Zimbabwean AIDS Campaign Posters


  • Clemenciana Mukenge


This paper seeks to analyze the language used to talk about HIV and AIDS
in selected previous and current Zimbabwean campaign posters. The
analysis is guided by Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). An in-depth textual
analysis of the posters is carried out focusing on linguistic features such as
vocabulary, grammar, cohesion and text structure. This is followed by a
comparative analysis of the linguistic features used in earlier and later
messages to ascertain whether and how the HIV and AIDS
conceptualization has transformed. It is argued that the language used to
refer to HIV and AIDS is gradually shifting from the fatal and pessimistic
view of the pandemic to acceptance, tolerance and optimism. It is concluded
that language is double edged; it is socially constitutive and socially
constituted. This means that it is shaped by and reflects social reality and
its structures, and in turn it influences the construction of that very reality
by shaping people ' s perceptions of and reactions to their world.