A Democracy of Chameleons: Politics and Culture in the New Malawi

By Harri Englund | Go to book overview

8.
Tikutha1
The Political Culture of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Malawi
John Lwanda

Buy a newspaper, see that column What a pity, many people are dying Coffin workshops are being advertised Not really because carpenters want money

Carpenters cannot rest, always working in haste Making coffins one after another No wonder coffin workshops are everywhere Billy Kaunda, 19992

During my focus group sessions among primary, secondary and tertiary students in Malawi, there was one persistent question, or rather a statement—surely mosquitoes transmit HIV. The scientific explanation I gave as a medical doctor was received with politeness, but limited conviction. The students postulated variously that scientists knew all about mosquitoes transmitting HIV but kept quiet about it in order to avoid causing panic, or in order to impose abstinence or condoms; that mosquito bites were more frequent than sexual intercourse and more likely transmitters; that mosquito bites could transmit HIV to the innocent; and that those who got fewer bites were less affected by HIV. During a particularly intense focus-group session with third-year university students, the question cropped up again, with the same doubts expressed. In a moment of desperation, rather than inspiration, I posed the question, “Do you think that these scientists would stay in Malawi if this were true?”. Since the “scientists” include many Europeans and educated Malawians, the mosquito question is symbolic of issues of a complicated dialogue involving class, race, culture, medicine, science—not to mention how this science, when problematic, is viewed by “transitional and traditional” Malawians (cf. Peltzer, 1986:11). It is these complex inter-connections between “traditional” and “Western” medicine that I try to highlight in order to disclose the particular political culture in which the AIDS/HIV epidemic has come to be embedded in Malawi.

While the origins of HIV/AIDS are still mysterious (Karlen, 1995), the arrival of HIV in Malawi, through the international road trade routes from the eastern and western (Zaire to Kenya) and then eastern and southern (Kenya to South Africa) networks has been more plausibly mapped out, with regular itinerants as the vectors (Orubuloye et al., 1994: 89–95). Orubuloye and the colleagues assumed a ZaireUganda entry point for the virus in Africa. While the exact date of HIV's arrival in Malawi cannot be ascertained, the two per cent prevalence rate among ante-natal patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1985 (Taha et al., 1998) and the work of

____________________
1
We perish. Cf. the popular song of the same title by Dennis Phiri in which he uses politics, religion and culture in his HIV discourse. My grateful thanks to those who read and commented on earlier drafts of this article: Paul Nugent, Kenneth King, Jack Thompson, Patrick O'Malley and Jack Mapanje. My thanks to Chipo Kanjo for Chiyao translations. The shortcomings, alas, are mine.
2
A popular song by Billy Kaunda, released on the album Alibe Mau.

-151-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Democracy of Chameleons: Politics and Culture in the New Malawi
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 208

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.