"Living in two worlds" : optimizing our indigenous knowledge systems to address the modern pandemic, HIV and AIDS
Nyawose, Theobald Zwelibanzi
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This thesis focuses on the alarming situation of the rate of HIV infection which is escalating every day in South Africa, and what can be done to address the rate of HIV infection. Much has been tried to curb this escalation, but all efforts have had little effect. This concerns me deeply. So I have looked at the problem from the perspective of education. I have personally experienced how Zulu indigenous knowledge, in the form of traditional modes of Zulu sexuality education, was used in the past to address the problems of sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy before it was sanctioned. I have seen that the rituals performed as part of traditional Zulu sexuality education have been effective. I believe that indigenous knowledge systems in the South African context refer to a body of knowledge embedded in African philosophical thinking and social practices that have evolved over thousands years. Indigenous knowledge systems acknowledge the rich history and heritage of the people as important contributors to nurturing the values and norms in society, and so form the basis of education for the people. I believe that our indigenous knowledge systems according to the dictates of rites and rituals observed by our forefathers can play a major role in the (sexuality) education of our youth, and can optimise our efforts to fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic. This study focuses on the adolescent stage. Adolescence is a phase of discovery and experimentation in which young people develop new feelings, which (coupled with physical maturing) lead to exploring new behaviors and relationships, including sexual behaviours and sexual relationships. Therefore, I believe that adolescents should be targeted because they are just beginning to face social situations in which their decisions and actions about their sexual behaviours and sexual relationships will determine their future. In addition, adolescents are – or should be – school going, so they can be influenced by what is in their school curriculum. I have made suggestions about how the Life Orientation Grades 10—12 curriculum can be used to include traditional sexuality education for this purpose. In doing so, I do not suggest that all South African school going teenagers should perform the traditional Zulu rituals, but I am suggesting that the revival and adaption of traditional modes of sexuality education in all cultures could be helpful in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic. I use the Zulu traditions because they are the traditions with which I am familiar. I have carried out this study to promote the use of Zulu traditional sexuality education to curb the rate of HIV infection among young Zulu people. I believe that this traditional method, if it is used optimally, can reduce the rate of infection and the speed of mortality, as well as the problem of early pregnancy among our Zulu youth, in South Africa.