About the Wahapahapa Radio Drama
The Wahapahapa radio drama takes place in Kalumbi, a fictional town somewhere in the heart of Tanzania. Wahapahapa’s main characters are a group of musicians, The Homeboys Band, and the programme explores the impact of HIV/AIDS on young adults through the lives of the band members, their families, and friends. Three additional interweaving storylines communicate specific behaviour change objectives through transitional characters. There is the storyline of Mainda and her mother Monika who have a tenuous relationship. Their story stresses the importance of parent-child communication in protecting youth as they navigate through the difficult period of adolescence. Tausi, an HIV-positive woman who eventually joins the band, is a talented young musician trying to pursue her dreams. Tausi’s story explores the challenges of disclosure, living positively, and confronting stigma. Ray, also HIV-positive, models the trials and tribulations of anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Ray works at the local Masifa (Pride) radio station, and, on his music talk-show Mwale wa Jua (Ray of Sunshine), he conducts live interviews of contemporary Tanzanian musicians.
Wahapahapa’s storylines carefully integrate instructive messages around stigma, cross-generational sex, multiple concurrent partners, HIV testing, and treatment and care. Using humour, drama, and music, the characters model positive behaviour change to help develop and strengthen young people’s belief that they can make safe, responsible decisions around sex and relationships.
To complement the radio drama series, we have commissioned songs from 10 Tanzanian musicians. The songs are inspired directly by the drama’s characters, storylines, and themes, with lyrics intentionally designed to provoke discussion around sensitive issues relating to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. These songs, as well as others heard on the drama, have been released as compilation albums.