ZAZI is a Nguni word which means "know yourself". The ZAZI campaign kicked off with a music video and song, featuring popular artist Zonke and poet Nova. The song and music video embody the spirit of ZAZI, by depicting young women making positive choices in difficult situations, and joining other women who have made similar choies, who know and love themsleves and want to have a brighter future.
The thirty second television commercial, which was launched to coincide with youth month, was produced to discourage young girls from having sexual relationships with older men, often referred to as "sugar daddies". The commercial features a school girl who rejects the advances of an older man. The girl's friend approves of her decision and ties a green headband aroung the girl's wrist. The tying of the green headband represents a call to action to all young girls to look inside themselves and make good decisions which have positive outcomes for their health and well-being. Towards the end of the commercial, the rest of the girl's friends gather around her to show their support for her decision.
Age-disparate relationships, involving a younger woman and an older sexual male partner, are considered to be one of the key drivers of the HIV epidemic. Recent studies reveal that 40% of young women aged 16 - 24 report having a partner who is five or more years older than themselves. This is also evident in HIV prevalence figures which show that young women are four times more likely to contract HIV than young men.
"Intergenerational relationships are a key contributor to the growing number of HIV infections. Thiscommercial has been designed to discourage young women from having sexual partners who are older than them, as young women are often powerless to insist on using condoms with older partners. This means that young women in such relationships are at higher risk on HIV infection and an unplanned preganancy" says Bronwyn Pearce, Deputy Director for Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, the health communications organisation that conceptualised and manages the campaign.
Thabo Sephuma, Media Liason, at the Office of the Department of Women, Children and persons with disabilities echoed Pearce's sentiments " This advert is great as we need communities to accept that this is happening and start talking openly about how to protect young girls from these relationships, by creating environments that nurture and help them to be self-sustainable".
Key message of the commercial:
Know your self-worth, know your own values and strive to fulfill your dreams without having to depend on an older man who may demand sex in exchange for favours.