Minnie @ Public Lecture - More Peace, Less AIDS at UNISA 17/03/2011

(Minenhle Moyo is CABSA’s regional representative in Gauteng)

Here is a brief report on this seminar I attended last Thursday. Other CABSA facilitators who attended were: Elzaan De Villiers, Tumani Santungwana, Sophie Motsiri and Samuel Ditsele. 

The keynote address was given by Ms Patricia Perez (Argentinean Social Justice Activist and Nobel Prize Nominee). The general sense of her presentation was on campaigning for peace in this time of HIV and AIDS in the world, peace comes when we fight Domestic Violence and Abuse.

What was of note to me was also the points raised by other speakers at this event -

Dr Kgosi TKS Letlape: He says Transactional sex is one of our biggest problems today. It happens everywhere, even in churches by the leaders. This has brought about what is known as 'Skirt Upliftment' in these places, including workplaces etc - women get promoted when they lift their skirts for whomever in that place.

Some churches bring spirituality to HIV and AIDS - they call it a demon and they stop people on ART, saying they have been healed. Why don't they treat diabetes and other sicknesses the same and tell people to stop taking their medication.

Then Ms Chriselda Kananda (Managing Director of Positive Talk Services) shared her personal story, which brought in many of the challenges that still exist today, with culture and its demands on woman whose husbands have died to be inherited. She could afford to walk away and not choose the men, but many women do not have that option still in many places. She challenged the audience, in particular women, to contribute to peace in this time by teaching their boy children to love and care for women; promote fidelity and not snatch another woman's husband. She also advocated for more treatment options for women that are simplified and accessible.

I basically enjoyed the sessions but realised we still going round the same things that have been raised already in the HIV and AIDS as well as health arena. I am left longing for more and one man raised the issue of finding African solutions that work for us, one way being to engage communities and having them come up with their own strategies of dealing with infidelity, curbing the spread of HIV and cultural factors that contribute to its spread. I once worked with an Organisation – SAFAIDS -  that did this and had success stories as the community came up with responses that did not put humans in danger in terms of their health etc eg a popular one - appeasing spirits through giving up a girl child to the family that has been wronged. One community in Zimbabwe then said instead of appeasing with a girl the ancestors would accept cows instead. Long story, but that helped in changing perspectives and responses in this time of HIV

 Lyn's Comment: Minnie raises a very important point here!  This aligns closely to CABSA's shift towords HIV competence adn the work of "Community Life Competence", and organisation previously known as "AIDS Competence".  According to this model a community has the competence to solve its own problems - we need to unock this potential in order for organisations to find solutions that work for them!  You can learn more from http://www.communitylifecompetence.org

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