Building resilient communities in the midst of shame, guilt, fear, witchcraft, and HIV/AIDS


One of the most challenging issues in dealing with HIV/AIDS is breaking through the stigmas surrounding the disease and building resilience in communities where large numbers of people are infected with and affected by the HIV pandemic. This article explores the relationship between shame, fear, guilt, witchcraft and HIV/AIDS stigmatization with specific reference to a rural community in South Africa. This will be done by looking at key features of the African Traditional worldview and culture. Predominant witchcraft beliefs and how it manifests in community attitudes towards PLWA as we have observed it over a period of 10 years in the KwaNdebele region will be pointed out. The influence of prevailing beliefs in witchcraft and the way it aggravates the experience of fear, shame, and suffering of stigmatization by people infected and affected by HIV will also be highlighted. Approaches to Christian HIV/AIDS counselling and intervention have to be contextualised to be culturally sensitive and relevant. At the same time, the article wants to stress that a Christian approach to HIV/AIDS intervention may be enriched and become more holistic when the aspects of the Christian Gospel dealing with God’s merciful covering of the shame of his children and Christ’s victory over and disarmament of all evil spiritual powers and authorities are believed and embraced.
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Copyright (c) 2020 P.J. (Flip) Buys