Unwanted and homeless – The Voice

Date: April 13, 2011
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This story is about a family that drives a woman and her children from their home as they fear that she will spread the HI virus through contracting sharing utensils and touching. The article traces the woman’s journey and the discrimination that she encounters. The story is of survival and hope as well.

This article highlights:

· Discrimination and violence HIV positive women face

· The need for HIV/AIDS care support/shelter

· The need for consistent and ongoing education campaigns on HIV/AIDS

· That stereotypes, attitudes and misconceptions of HIV/AIDS remains prevalent


The story is told with sensitivity. The survivor narrates her plight and raises the spectre of discrimination in a way that touches others. There is no judgement associated with the HIV/AIDS survivor in this report. In fact, the woman is presented as being highly aware, emotionally and mentally astute

The story flags society’s role and responsibility in combating violations. The underlying message is the need to explore and build centres of support for HIV/AIDS survivors. The article calls for increased information dissemination on HIV/AIDS transmission.

The story highlights the dynamics within families and the vulnerability of care givers. In this story the aunt cares for the HIV/AIDS survivor but has to close her doors to the woman as her daughter fears infection.

The story presents and justifies the need for HIV care centres to assist survivors left homeless.


The headline shines the spotlight on HIV/AIDS and gender violence. The title “Unwanted and Homeless,À sums the plight of those affected. In this case a woman and her family are left homeless. It sensitizes the public on the impact of discrimination and the trauma that people living with AIDS encounter.

The headline is supported by a sub-heading: Family throws woman and kids out of fear in catching HIV. The sub-heading is the kicker in the article, it is the sting of the tale of people that are discriminated at because they are/ or are perceived to be living with HIV and AIDS.


This is a single-sourced story, in which the subject narrates her journey and challenges. This is positive in that this gives her agency. She is also able to articulate how she feels. This is a move from some media reports whereby people living with AIDS are often spoken for. This article gives Omphile, the subject of the story, a voice.


The language used in the story dispels the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. The narrative bears the signature of the narrator and the author captures this in an objective and empathetic manner. The appeal is that the tone possesses transformative value. The issue of discrimination and stereo-typing is addressed in a way that allows the reader to self-reflect in a comfortable way.

The power of the article is that the story speaks for itself. The power of the article is that after reading it, the reader can re-evaluate him/herself and measure if one is party to such discriminatory and hurtful practise. The power of the language used is that without lecturing, looking down or moralising the article has the power to move.

Visual image

The image is powerful and balanced. The stereotypical picture of “woman in painÀ etc is not conveyed. Instead the reader is presented with a woman bottle-feeding her baby and she bears no emotional expression, except one of calmness. The image reflects the tone of the article of a woman who has suffered but is not a helpless victim.

Story angle and perspective

The article pursues the life of a woman who is feared to be living with HIV and AIDS. The angle treks a journey in which because of discrimination the woman and her family are kicked out of their homes. The perspective that the author highlights is that discriminatory practise is not only illogical; it causes pain to those bearing the brunt. This is brought in sharp focus and highlights the role society as well.

Placement and positioning

The story is on page 38 and this may indicate that it does not receive the treatment it deserves. However, on the page it occupies, the story and the picture, the heading and the sub-heading are critical in bring to fore the seriousness of the subject matter. It appears there was editorial pondering about how best to treat the story.

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