Bridging Theory and Practice in Entertainment Education: An Assessment of the Conceptualization and Design of Tsha Tsha in South Africa

13 May 2019

The entertainment?education (E-E) strategy in development communication has been widely described as the panacea to development challenges in Africa. However, despite its growing application on the continent, E-E is still argued to be inhibited from contributing meaningfully toward development efforts. E-E interventions are argued to be hamstrung by their failure to embrace theoretical advances in development communication and E-E scholarship and for remaining rooted in the modernization paradigm. Using the social change paradigm as its framework, this article assesses the notions of development, change, communication, audiences, and education that underpin the conceptualization and design of Tsha Tsha, an E-E television drama that uses a novel cultural approach to address issues surrounding HIV and AIDS in South Africa. The data informing the study were gathered through a Focused Synthesis Approach and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The study?s findings show that significant efforts have been made by Tsha Tsha?s producers to bridge E-E practice and contemporary development communication and E-E scholarship. The data analyzed in the study show that Tsha Tsha?s notions of development, change, education, communication, and audience have been significantly remoored in line with the core tenets of the E-E for Social Change paradigm. The implications of the study are that more engagement and synergies need to be cultivated between E-E practitioners and development communication and E-E scholars if E-E?s full potential, in contributing to development challenges on the continent, is to be realized.