Language and Representation: Framing of HIV/AIDS Discourse in Gikuyu “Mukingo” Songs and Common-Talk by Public Transport Operators in Nyeri Town

  • Mary Kamunyu; Phylis Bartoo
Keywords: Representation, Framings, HIV/AIDS, Gikuyu AIDS, Mukingo


This paper aims to uncover representations and framings of the HIV/AIDS phenomenon. The paper asks: What are the representations and framings of the HIV/AIDS phenomenon in HIV/AIDS discourse in Gikuyu AIDS "Mukingo" songs and common-talk by public transport operators in Nyeri town? Although HIV and AIDS are biomedical and social phenomena that affect Kenyan society to the core, HIV/AIDS discourse has not been investigated adequately, especially with regard to how its discourse is represented in the African languages. The language and topics of research on HIV/AIDS, based on Western perceptions of reality, continue to exclude and marginalize the Third World’s own perceptions of reality and what counts as knowledge in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The paper is hinged within the frameworks of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Systemic Functional Linguistics Theory (SFL) as the theoretical orientations to the study of HIV/AIDS discourse. To get the needed data, the paper used purposive, and snowball sampling was used due to the mobile nature of public transport operators. Structured interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGD) was also used for data collection. Data analysis was done using a traditional thematic analysis. Unpacking the social constructions of HIV/AIDS in this paper sheds light on the ways in which laypeople construct “common sense assumptions”, of the epidemic in the public realm.