Original Research

‘Listening with our eyes’: Collaboration and HIV and AIDS curriculum integration in South African higher education

Pius Tanga, Naydene de Lange, Linda van Laren
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 10, No 1 | a18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v10i1.18 | © 2014 Pius Tanga, Naydene de Lange, Linda van Laren | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 February 2016 | Published: 30 July 2014

About the author(s)

Pius Tanga,, South Africa
Naydene de Lange, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Linda van Laren, Edgewood Campus, University of KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa

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Integrating HIV and AIDS into the academic curriculum is not engaged with vigorously enough in South African higher education institutions, for several reasons, ranging from lack of interest to complaints of belabouring the issue of HIV and AIDS, especially from the biomedical perspective. Through such integration the academic curriculum could be a key space and engine for persuading change and abating the effects of HIV and AIDS in higher education as well as in the communities served by the universities. We reflect on our three-year research project engagement and explore how collaboration facilitated integration of HIV and AIDS issues in our academic curriculum. Working from a critical paradigm and using a collaborative self-study approach, we utilised drawings and responses from questions which we compiled for ourselves. Textual and visual data generated were thematically analysed. The findings revealed that collaboration counteracts isolation; enables capacity development in integration for the collaborating researchers; and permits engaging with participatory visual methodologies to encourage integration. We conclude that collaboration is key in facilitating integration of HIV and AIDS in the higher education curriculum, and that collaboration using participatory visual methodologies enhances entry-points in engaging with HIV and AIDS in South Africa and beyond. This work has implications for integrating HIV and AIDS issues into the higher education curriculum.


Academic curriculum; collaboration; higher education; HIV and AIDS integration; participatory visual methodology


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