Zazi! Knowing Ourselves.
Young people worldwide are great risk for acquiring HIV. There is an urgent need to understand how to reach youth with prevention messages. South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV prevalence worldwide, especially among young women.
The AYAZAZI study is an attempt to get a more holistic understanding of HIV risk among youth. It looks at everything from the social, behavioral, emotional, sexual and even genetic factors that may make it more or less likely that a person contracts HIV.
At this particular AYAZAZI site in downtown Durban, a youth space is created, equipped with TV and a PlayStation, bright colored couches and oversized bean bags. A DVD of Trevor Noah’s stand-up comedy plays on repeat and youth hang out, enjoy a snack and chat about the Soweto native turned comedian. Outside on the street is the hustle and bustle of a lively city by the Indian Ocean that is home to a mix of people – Zulu, Xhosa, Indian, British, and Afrikaner.
The research interviewers tend to be young people who employ a youth-centered approach in working with their peers. Young people in turn feel more at ease and are able to participate more fully.
Lots of learning and community building happens here!
Thank you Nonhlonipho, Thulile and Sphamandla for spending time with me and opening up my world a little bit more!