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Children Of Africa Confront AIDS

From Vulnerability To Possibility

Arvind Singhal

Publication Year: 2003

 AIDS is now the leading cause of death in Africa, where twenty-eight million people are HIV-positive, and where some twelve million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In Zimbabwe, 45 percent of children under the age of five are HIV-positive, and the epidemic has shortened life expectancy by twenty-two years. A fifteen-year-old in Botswana or South Africa has a one-in-two chance of dying of AIDS. AIDS deaths are so widespread in sub-Saharan Africa that small children now play a new game called “Funerals.”

The Children of Africa Confront AIDS depicts the reality of how African children deal with the AIDS epidemic, and how the discourse of their vulnerability affects acts of coping and courage. A project of the Institute for the African Child at Ohio University, The Children of Africa Confront AIDS cuts across disciplines and issues to focus on the world's most marginalized population group, the children of Africa.

Editors Arvind Singhal and Stephen Howard join conversations between humanitarian and political activists and academics, asking, “What shall we do?” Such discourse occurs in African contexts ranging from a social science classroom in Botswana to youth groups in Kenya and Ghana. The authors describe HIV/AIDS in its macro contexts of vulnerable children and the continent's democratization movements and also in its national contexts of civil conflict, rural poverty, youth organizations, and agencies working on the ground.

Singhal, Howard, and other contributors draw on compelling personal experience in descriptions of HIV/AIDS interventions for children in difficult circumstances and present thoughtful insights into data gathered from surveys and observations concerning this terrible epidemic.

Published by: Ohio University Press


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pp. v-vii


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xiii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvii

Kami is a five-year-old, mustard-colored, bearlike puppet (very similar to a Muppet) sporting a mop of brown hair and a beaded blue vest. She loves nature, telling stories, and playing with children. Kami’s parents died when she was young and she is HIV-positive. ...

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Introduction: The Possibilities of African Leadership

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pp. 1-10

“What shall we do?” is the refrain of Oliver Mtukudzi’s popular song “Todii.” This Zimbabwean master, who has reached his country’s youth with his aptly named “Tuku music,” wants an answer to his compelling question about the AIDS crisis. In its Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS: Global Crisis— Global Action (June 2001) the United Nations General Assembly recognized the age-based dimensions of the pandemic ...

Section 1

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1: AIDS, Orphans, and the Future of Democracy in Africa

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pp. 13-39

Nengomasha Willard teaches eleven- and twelve-year-olds in rural Zimbabwe. Fifteen of his forty-two pupils have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS. He is worried about the impact of such a loss on all fifteen students, but particularly on one young boy who lost his father and then, at his mother’s funeral, cried constantly. Willard says the child does not want ...

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2: Civil Conflict, Sexual Violence, and HIV/AIDS

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pp. 40-50

Mary, a sixteen-year-old Sierra Leonean girl, saw both her parents killed by rebels before she was abducted. She lost her virginity when two armed rebels raped her. After she escaped, the doctors told her she needed surgery, although her family could not afford to pay.1 ...

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3: The Vulnerability of Children and Orphaned Youth in Zimbabwe

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pp. 51-58

Terminal illness and death are traumatic—whether a parent loses a child or a child loses a parent. The loss of a father, the symbol of financial security, results in untold worry about the future. Not having a mother, who will love, nurture, and guide you, is one of the most difficult things for any child to handle. Such suffering among children has been one of the consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.1 ...

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4: Reducing the Vulnerability of Africa’s Children to HIV/AIDS

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pp. 59-81

Kelvin had been in good steady employment as a cook, but he had to stop work because of increasing sickness and depression. He was the father of five children. The first died from malaria, when only an infant. The second survived. The third was found dead, having fallen into an empty swimming pool at the house where Kelvin worked. The fourth had HIV, transmitted ...

Section 2

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5: Understanding the Psychological and Emotional Needs of AIDS Orphans in Africa

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pp. 85-123

Interviewer: How is your life different now since your parents died? Child: I have less to eat now. I have more responsibility. Interviewer: You said earlier than you were worried. What worries you? Child: That I will get sick too. That I will have to leave school and will not be able to get a job. ...

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6: Storytelling as a Psychological Intervention for AIDS Orphans in Africa

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pp. 105-118

Hi, my name is Nkosi Johnson. I live in Melville, Johannesburg, South Africa. I am eleven years old and I have full-blown AIDS. I was born HIV-positive. When I was two years old, I was living in a care center for HIV/AIDS-infected people. My mommy was obviously also infected . . . she was very scared that the community ...

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7: HIV/AIDS, Children, and Sub-Saharan Africa

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pp. 119-127

Sarah’s parents died two years ago. Today she and her four younger siblings live with a foster father on a farm in Bindura, Zimbabwe. As Sarah’s story illustrates, the death of a parent from AIDS generally follows a prolonged period of illness, triggering many changes in the household that disrupt the child’s sense of security. While the financial burden of HIV/ AIDS is highly visible in families, its psychological impact on children is more difficult to identify. Addressing the psychosocial ...

Section 3

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8: For the Sake of the Children

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pp. 131-148

For little Margaret, the sky is the limit. The ten-year-old from the Mathare slums in Nairobi aspires for a life in the sky, as a pilot. One of six children in a poor family, Margaret’s hope for a better future mirrors the aspirations of many children in the slums. Her story is part of a collection of images and ...

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9: Participatory HIV Intervention with Ghanaian Youth

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pp. 149-158

In January 2002 a participatory HIV/AIDS prevention campaign was conducted in Accra, Ghana, which reached more than nine hundred youth aged twelve to twenty-three. This low-cost pilot project assessed the youth’s awareness and needs concerning HIV/AIDS and engaged them in locally based peer-led efforts to control HIV/AIDS in their community. The intervention employed the framework of critical pedagogy to ...

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10: How Communities Help Families Cope with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe

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pp. 159-168

In Zimbabwe, an estimated six hundred thousand children have lost their mothers or both parents to AIDS since 1985.1 The National AIDS Co-ordination Program (NACP) in Zimbabwe estimates the orphan population to be growing by sixty thousand children per year. This situation demands feasible program interventions. ...

Section 4

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11: Sara: A Role Model for African Girls Facing HIV/AIDS

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pp. 171-192

One of the fundamental causes of the spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is gender inequality within a context of income disparity and poverty.1 Not only are females biologically more susceptible than males to infection with HIV,2 they are more at risk because of sociocultural conditioning.3 In many parts ...

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12: The Treatment of AIDS in Soul Buddyz

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pp. 193-210

South Africa has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any other country in the world. An estimated 4.7 million people there are infected with the HIV virus.1 While the country has a reasonable GDP per capita ($6,900 in 1999),2 the distribution of wealth is skewed. Many people live below the poverty line.3 ...

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13: “HIV Is Gold, AIDS Is Platinum”

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pp. 211-218

High school youth crowd into the auditorium of Princeton High School in Cape Town dancing enthusiastically to the sounds of their favorite hip-hop groups—Prophets of the City, Brasse Vannie Kaap, and Devious. This is not an unusual sight in Cape Town, where hip-hop music is very popular among the youth. But listen carefully and you’ll hear that these lyrics are ...

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14: Teaching Social Studies in Botswana in the Age of HIV/AIDS

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pp. 219-229

In the world in 2002, Botswana, a landlocked, diamond-rich, peaceful country in southern Africa with about 1.4 million people, was the worst hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Thirty-six percent of all adults (about 280,000) in what should be their most productive years (fifteen to forty-nine) were infected. 1 As a social studies teacher for many years in a Botswana junior ...

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15: Communication Strategies for Confronting AIDS

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pp. 230-245

The introduction to the present volume cited singer Oliver Mtukudzi’s question to the youth of Zimbabwe about the AIDS crisis: “What shall we do?” In the context of Zimbabwe, where 45 percent of the children under the age of five are HIV positive and where one of every two fifteen-year-olds is likely to ...


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pp. 247-255

Index of Names

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pp. 257

Index of Subjects

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pp. 259-265

E-ISBN-13: 9780896804456
Print-ISBN-13: 9780896802322

Publication Year: 2003