Soul City photovoice training

Alcohol study launches in South Africa

30 October 2015
Annie Holmes

In South Africa, alcohol is relatively cheap, readily available and advertised everywhere. How does this impact the lives of young people? A new study aims to find out. 

The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication is undertaking the South African piece of STRIVE’s multi-country study of alcohol availability and advertising. After STRIVE training workshops - and like ICRW-ARO in Mumbai, India, and NIMR in Mwanza, Tanzania - Soul City is using two innovative research methods:

  • GIS mapping to identify and demonstrate the density of outlets, particularly in relation to schools and other relevant sites
  • photovoice, to engage young people in documenting alcohol advertising in their neighbourhoods and reflecting on the impact of alcohol on their lives  

To enable comparison across peri-urban and rural contexts, Soul City is doing research in two sites – rural Mpumalanga and Atteridgeville, a township outside Pretoria. There is enthusiastic support for the study both within Soul City and among partners and local collaborators, including youth organisations and at least one highly motivated traditional leader.

The insights and experiences of youth from marginalised communities have not been heard before on these issues, so the STRIVE study is a valuable opportunity to work directly with young men and women.”

Dr Renay Weiner, Soul City study lead

Soul City have considerable experience in addressing alcohol regulation and drinking norms from a public health perspective. In a video interview, Savera Kalideen describes how Soul City’s Phuza Wize campaign (“consume sensibly”) went about engaging stakeholders on the public health harms associated with alcohol. Against both the powerful alcohol industry and entrenched norms around drinking, the campaign and allied efforts have achieved considerable progress: Savera outlines the progress made in 2015 and looks ahead to the potential contribution of the STRIVE study.

It is going to fill a very important gap for us because we don’t have enough local research. … Although we do look at international evidence and we value it, there is also a strong call … in the country for us to have local evidence.”

Savera Kalideen, Soul City Senior Manager for Advocacy