South Africa is joining the global #LanguageMatters movement, calling for “a new language for diabetes”.
Diabetes Australia, the International Diabetes Federation, and diabetes organisations in the US, UK, Italy, France, India, Costa Rica and Canada have published similar statements. You can see them all on Language Matters Diabetes.
Let’s change the conversation about diabetes in South Africa
Our language matters. The words we choose, and the way we use them, influence, persuade and affect how people view the world. Words do more than reflect reality: they create reality.
Words are powerful. They can create a culture in which people feel valued, understood, and supported – or one in which people feel misunderstood, undermined, stigmatised, and excluded.
Words can express conscious or unconscious bias. The words used to talk about diabetes affect the physical and emotional health of people living with diabetes. They also affect how people in society view people living with diabetes, or those at risk of developing diabetes.
Language Matters position statement
Download the South African #LanguageMatters Diabetes position statement here. It outlines why our language matters, how to choose your words, and how to be inclusive.
South African images of people with diabetes
Alongside the words we use being more conscious and empowering, it’s essential to consider the images we use when talking about diabetes. This applies to healthcare settings, the media, social media and general use.
We need to use imagery that is accurate, representative and empowering. If Type 2 diabetes is always referenced alongside images of fast food, it leads to judgement and stigma; and if Type 1 diabetes is only referenced alongside images of needles, it does the same. People with diabetes can live full and healthy lives – and our imagery should represent that.
To make it as easy as possible to use empowering imagery, we have uploaded 150+ positive images of people with diabetes taking medication, checking blood glucose, cooking and eating healthy food, working, chatting with friends and exercising.
#LanguageMatters is a collaboration
These South African diabetes organisations endorse this campaign wholeheartedly:
All logos are provided to support the #LanguageMatters position statement and cannot be used for any other purposes whatsoever.
And with the support of:
Pick n Pay
What to read next?
Why does the language of diabetes matter? We asked Renza Scibilia, one of the original authors of the #LanguageMatters position statement that started the movement. Here’s what she said.
Let’s talk about diabetes stigma: We asked our South Africans with Diabetes community to share if they felt there was diabetes stigma in SA. They had a lot to say.
What are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes? Finally! An easy explanation for this question that so many people ask us.