A reception analysis of Soul city beyond South Africa : the case of Choose Life in Lesotho.
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This thesis examines the reception of material developed by Soul City: Institute for Health and Development in South Africa and distributed in four Sub-Saharan countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia. Soul City is the focus of considerable resource, research and media attention in South Africa. The study thus critically assesses Soul City's efficacy in neighbouring states, such as Lesotho. The focus of the study is on Choose Life; a booklet intended for 12-16 year olds and assesses its reception by the target group in Lesotho. The study investigates how message-decoding practices of the target audience in Lesotho will bear on a product originally designed for a South African audience. The sample's interpretation of the Choose Life booklet is therefore assessed to determine the extent to which their reception produced 'preferred', negotiated or aberrant meanings. Therefore Stuart Hall's encoding/decoding model (1980) offers the theoretical framework upon which the reception of Choose Life is analysed. Development communication models are also used to explain the role of Soul City as the agent and Youth in Lesotho as beneficiaries in the implementation of the project. Results established by this study indicate that there is need to conduct extensive formative research of target audiences and also involve beneficiaries in projects intended for them. Different readings of the booklet were observed which were attributed to age, gender, place of residence (Urban or rural), cultural and communication barriers . This means these factors were supposed to have been considered by Soul City prior to the Choose Life intervention.