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Thembani Dube

Ms Thembani Dube is a PhD student in her second studying history at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has done some research on the history of the Kalanga people, one of the minority group of people found in Zimbabwe. Currently she is working on a paper on cultural violence against women amongst the Kalanga people in Zimbabwe. She has also published a paper  in the ESARBICA Journal on challenges of managing archives in Zimbabwe. Her research interests also includes women histories and minority groups social histories. She has also worked at the National Archives of Zimbabwe as the institution’s oral historian and senior archivist.

Abstract

Migrant labourers witchcraft and AIDS.” Changing perceptions of HIV and AIDS disease among the people of Plumtree, Zimbabwe.

Thembani Dube

Diseases have always been attributed suspicions in pre-colonial African societies. When the disease AIDS first made emerged in Plumtree, a district in the south western parts of Zimbabwe it was a disease associated with witchcraft, since most of the affected were migrant labourers who were working in South Africa and who were working in Johannesburg in particular. This paper seeks to show how migration of the people from this district to Johannesburg has been has been central to the spread of the disease in the district from the early 1990s to the present. Initially, the migrant labourers and their families attributed the diseases to witchcraft as they felt that their family members were being be witched because of their successes in terms of having accumulated some properties in South Africa. As a result of constrained health facilities and because they were illegal migrant labourers in South Africa, these people could not access health care facilities, these people were sent home to die as they could not be treated in South Africa. In the same vein, back home especially in the 1990s the majority of these migrant labourers could not afford to buy the medication and only very few managed to be treated. The papers also seeks to show that while the disease has been attributed to these migrant labourers, these migrant labourers have faced challenges in terms of access to health care facilities and as a result most of the infected people from this district have been receiving treatment from their home country, Zimbabwe. Above all the paper will show how the people’s perceptions of the disease have been transformed.

 
Edinburgh Students