HIV/AIDS among youth is a serious problem in South Africa. Cross-gender relations and associated constructs surrounding masculinity/femininity and sexuality are increasingly recognized as at the heart of the issue. Growing attention has thus been given to developing initiatives geared towards children and very young adolescents (VYAs), aimed at addressing attitudes and behaviours surrounding gender and sexuality. This paper explored the representations of "positive" cross-gender relations, as well as associated constructs, in the Soul Buddyz edutainment initiative primarily geared towards 8-12 year-olds, and intended to provide "positive" role models for girls and boys.  Pertinent Soul Buddyz material was explored through methods of narrative and frame analysis, from a position informed by social constructionism and theoretical tenets of Michel Foucault. Findings were then situated within a broader framework, with reference made to the formative research undertaken for the development of Soul Buddyz, as well as other relevant studies concerning children and youth. The overarching aim of this paper was to raise questions in reference to HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives dealing with cross-gender relations and associated constructs, critical reflection upon these issues being considered as crucial within the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and for potentially strengthening prevention initiatives.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Cousins, L. (2009). Modelling cross-gender and sexual relations. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 465, pp. 1–63). Retrieved from