A radio ministry helps its listeners become more than conquerors in South Africa.

By October 24, 2003

South Africa (MNN)–A recent AIDS study in South Africa suggests the epidemic may have peaked last year. The research, published in the African Journal of AIDS Research, says there is a “more positive scenario” for AIDS in South Africa, which is struggling with the highest single HIV/AIDS caseload in the world.

At the same time, churches are issuing the call to become more actively involved in the fight against the epidemic. Up until the last few years, churches shyed away from the problem, leaving it largely unaddressed.

The combination proved deadly for the populace, and response is changing dramatically. However, radio ministry in South Africa proves to be a challenge at times when crisis grips the country. The AIDS problem is a case in point.

In a place where Christian radio stations are not allowed, Trans World Radio found a way. TWR’s Brent Bartlett says community radio stations are required to fulfill a religious content quota. “We are now looking at providing programs in strategic areas which are Biblically-based, but also challenging and meeting the needs of the people in the street in these communities where television is not that accessible and where poverty is very high.”

Bartlett says TWR’s “Project Mofenyi” (the word means “conqueror” in Tswana) takes AIDS awareness forward. “Providing some way of taking people from a position of awareness to things like home-based care, to things like dealing with poverty, bringing in a Biblical perspective to show people how to prevent themselves from contracting HIV/AIDS, while preaching the Gospel and sharing the Good News.”

Thanks to a strategic new partnership with an organization called Doctors for Life, TWR will authoritatively address the widespread health crisis from a preventive and holistic perspective, providing useful information to a predominantly illiterate audience. Bartlett says, “TWR and Doctors for Life are partnering to address HIV/AIDS in a way that will supplement the on-the-ground work Doctors for Life currently provides in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere.”

They will begin with Zulu and expand into Tswana, Xhosa and the other languages, addressing the needs of the people. Many of the cultures in South Africa learn through oral communication so radio drama is a useful tool for this.

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