By Fraser G. McNeill
This e-book bargains an unique anthropological method of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. according to a greater than fifteen years organization with the zone, it demonstrates why AIDS interventions within the former fatherland of Venda have failed - and doubtless even been counterproductive. It does so via a sequence of ethnographic encounters, from kings to condoms, which disclose the ways that biomedical figuring out of the virus were rejected by means of - and integrated into - neighborhood understandings of healthiness, affliction, intercourse, and loss of life. throughout the songs of girl initiation, AIDS schooling, and wandering minstrels, the booklet argues that track is principal to figuring out how AIDS interventions function. This publication elucidates a hidden international of that means within which humans sing approximately what they can't speak about, the place educators are blamed for spreading the virus, and within which condoms are usually notion to reason AIDS. The coverage implications are transparent: African worldviews has to be taken heavily if AIDS interventions in Africa are to turn into profitable.
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This has the potential to create a grimly vicious circle, with death and financial insecurity mutually reinforcing one another. Whilst Venda society is characterised by generational division, this dovetails with the separation of socio-political control along the lines of gender. In this patriarchal environment, young, unmarried women often strike up multiple concurrent ‘transactional relationships’ with ‘sugar daddies’: older, richer, and usually married men who may be teachers, civil servants, taxi drivers, policemen, or others with a disposable income.
AIDS has fitted easily into a wider complex of illnesses which are known, in the words of the old man in the introductory sketch, as malwadze dza vhafumakadzi, ‘the illnesses of women’. Throughout South Africa’s rural peripheries, this way of thinking about the pandemic takes on slightly different forms, but is propagated in largely similar ways: through ritual processes of initiation under the authority of elders and ancestors. Through the promotion of initiation ceremonies by chiefs and 16 ‘HIV incidence’ is the new number of HIV infections in a population over a given period of time.
The focus is, however, not directed towards the South African government’s previously controversial AIDS related policies: these have received extensive, possibly excessive, coverage in the literature (see Chapter 4). Instead, I am concerned with demonstrating the ways in which a seemingly less pertinent policy agenda, that relating to the political economy of traditional leadership in a democratic setting, has impinged upon AIDS-related discourse and the efficacy of prevention programmes. Clearly, the official response to AIDS in South Africa has been ‘the most resounding failure of [ex-President] Thabo Mbeki’s government’ (Fassin 2007: xvii), and it is important to recognise this.