n African Journal of Rhetoric - AIDS, rhetoric, and the silence of lived experience s on the South African epidemic

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


Over two Decades the South African HIV epidemic has grown from a small and fragmented pool of AIDS cases to one of the most severe country-level epidemics in the world. One in six people living with HIV globally are living in South Africa.

Alongside this rapid trajectory of HIV infections, has been a growth in response accompanied by the investment of billions of rands and the unfolding of countless interventions that are shaped through rhetoric as appropriate, worthy, effective and impactful approaches.
In the context of this unfolding epidemic, what is it that we hold in frame as symbolic of the meaning of this crisis? Is it the Image of the tens of thousands of babies who have died through acquiring HIV in their earliest moments of their lives? Is it the mourning of their parents who themselves, are living with the virus? Is it the children who confront illness and death and who set aside grieving to fend for themselves and their siblings? Is it the lifting into the foreground, the dark secrets of child sexual abuse, or the vulnerability of the blind, deaf and otherwise marginalised who are more vulnerable than most? Is it the quiet darkness of rape? Is it the dim opportunity of survival that may be achieved through the exchange of sex for goods and favours? Is it the naïve pursuit of commodities glorified through globalised reification of what is necessary for life and that can be attained through the same pathways along which HIV travels? Is it the obviousness of the fact that it is overwhelmingly the poor and the marginalised that are most affected by this epidemic?

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