HIV and AIDS: The violence of visuality and the visuality of violence | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1754-9221
  • E-ISSN: 1754-923X



This article explores the expression of violence through verbal and visual representations of HIV and AIDS in the film ‘Musinsimuke’ which literary means ‘change’ (Markham, 2001). The epistemological understanding of violence embraces two important strands: the symbolic and the physical. These two facets are intertwined and feed into each other. The manifestations of violence are played out onto the body which is a contestable terrain that reflects possibilities for both hope and social abjectivity. Violence destabilizes the normal: it is the politics of representation in which people infected can be viewed as hopeless and useless, and destined for death. In its psychological dimension, violence is the unstable condition in which infected people may begin to undermine themselves instead of living positively with the disease by leading a healthy life. This article will argue that extreme cinematic representations of diseased bodies gloss over the realities and methods of preventing HIV and AIDS. We will also conceptualize the violence of representation as metaphorically depicting Zimbabwe as a contaminated nation, undergoing challenging times and in need of serious attention. Most donor-funded films have a tendency to hit out at the government by proffering macabre images of diseased bodies, creating stereotypes and reinforcing damaging myths about African sexuality. Such myths need to be challenged and deconstructed through visual images working as counter-cultures.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): film; HIV and AIDS; Musinsimuke; violence; visual representation; Zimbabwe
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