The image of two attractive young female soldiers cleaning their AK 47’s and proclaiming: “We like our rifles clean – so we encourage men to circumcise’ – is the latest propaganda in the BDF’s war against HIV.
Some may feel that the tone of the advert in which the male member is compared to a rifle might be too close to the bone for public consumption.
But BDF HIV/AIDS Programmes Manager North Lieutenant Macdonald Kgosi insists the adverts are not designed as a shock tactic.
“We are merely emphasising the importance of circumcision in improving personal hygiene in our fight against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases,” he said.
The campaign was originally run under the title ‘Operation Survivor and Thrive’ and rebranded as Sex Education Knowledge with AIDS Testing and Awareness (SEKWATA).
Lieutenant Kgosi went on to explain that as a male dominated organization the BDF found it necessary to encourage their employees to get circumcised.
Now they have decided to take the campaign to thepublic, which also includes providing BDF issue Sekwata condoms free of charge.
Our reporter Portia Ngwakoattended Monday’s launch in Francistown to gauge public reaction.
KabeloKhudu, 32, from Molepolole
I think it’s a good idea for the BDF to take the SMC campaign to the public.
If you start something within your family and it works for you, why not look at the wider picture and help the nation?
The more this campaign is done the more people get adequate information.
It took me about a year to do SMC because the information I got was not enough.
It has increased my sexual pleasure – I enjoy it and satisfy my wife.
The advert is relevant – female soldiers are holding rifles and they are preparing for the war.
If you wish for peace you must also be prepared to defend yourself.
Mopati Wale, 33, security officer
It is a good thing for the BDF to reach out to the community.
I feel the information is not enough in clinics unlike at BDF camps.
From the entrance there are banners and billboards about SMC.
This advert is straightforward and draws one’s attention, but for some the message might be misunderstood.
I think the reason why people are reluctant to do SMC is that one has to test for HIV first.
When I did SMC we were told we should go for the test and if positive circumcision will not be done.
Emily Maseko from Mothabaneng
Soldiers are protecting us, they secure the nation and it is good to see them leading the SMC campaign.
They are role models and we know they are the most respected personnel. My boyfriend is circumcised.
I think it is high time women refuse to have sex with men who are reluctant to do SMC.
This puts us at risk because foreskin increases chances of getting cervical cancer.
Foreskin easily traps bacteria and other disease agents.
The advert is a bit tricky – one might think they are advertising guns.