In Africa, AIDS Education Needs to Start at Home
In my strife to demystify issues related to gender, sexual orientation, sexuality and HIV/AIDS within the home, I have faced innumerable challenges. Having been brought up in a typical African family, communication within the home was very minimal, especially on sentimental issues.
Although my new family; my sister and her fiancée, are liberal conservatives, and also seek to pursue open discussions within the institution of the home but also within the bounds of cultural influence, a complete and impartial discussion with regards to the afore mentioned issues is tough.
And whilst we realize that charity begins at home, and have been able to nurture other aspects of our short lives; trust, loyalty, faithfulness and even hygiene, the issue of the “inner house” is still subject to “inner use”. Much has been said about issues to do with sexuality and HIV/AIDS, given that 92% of all HIV infections are through sexual intercourse. A complete array of media has been utilized to strategically disseminated awareness messages about HIV infection and its effects to the individual and the society at large. So, if the institution of the home is the superlative form of orientation to life issues for the developing human being, why are other social institutions like the school and mainly the media taking over? Don’t you think that the institution of the home is being under-utilised? Are our cultural beliefs standing in the way of the home and the family?
Our African cultural heritage left us with not only a life of superstition and silent moaning, but also with a fierce battle for emancipating ourselves from infringing cultural boundaries especially in terms of the sociological make-up. The realization that we need to shake off the burdens of our ethnic struggles and social framework was ignited mainly but the influences of globalization and cultural commodification. However, the commodification of culture and globalization per se has had its own criticism, mainly because of its influence in transforming cultural objects to the entertainment industry for the upkeep and advance of capitalism. Nevertheless, all people have come under the umbrella of globalization through consumption of media products, the television, radio, internet and magazines. This would mean the fusion of cultures, beliefs and behaviours. Access to international media programming by weaker African communities has caused the acculturation of African youth to western youth behaviours. This can be observed in dressing, music and even religious tendencies. The influence is so great to such an extent that one can hardly tell the difference between an urban African youth and an American teenager; a situation that has put African traditionalist under much worry about the society’s future.
Although the architects of capitalism have tried to pursue their ideologies so that they can amass profits and rule the world through ideological devices, these tools can also be used to enhance our society’s sociological well-being. Sexuality issues have been demystified by the media through its constant reference when it comes to issues of HIV. It is now the role of the recipients to embrace such a benevolent cause. The media should be the starting point from which we shall break the silence on issues of sex and HIV in the home. Adverts on HIV/AIDS awareness, its relationship to promiscuity, multiple sex partners and prostitution should be reiterated within the home by parents and guardians, as well as the children themselves. The media can only go so far and its messages can be neglected if not supported by approval and adherence within the home by all. So whilst the media has done so much to throw light and lay bare sexuality issues in our living rooms and defy socio-cultural hindrances to family caucus, awareness messages on HIV/AIDS issues are best understood and accepted when the home is a liberal platform for opinions concerning sexuality issues.
Tags: Aids , Hiv , Africa , Zimbabwe
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