Grandmothers and grandchildren learning together: the intergrational relationship implications of the HIV and Aids epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa
This paper is based on the assumption that death from HIV and AIDS remains one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s major development challenges. Africans are not so naïve to believe that “danger” is as yet over; and our people are not despondent about the situation because we know that painful death from AIDS is stalking everywhere around us. It has remained ever more visible, vicious and nauseating as it appears to be ever pervasive. The deaths of the very best in African society have almost debased our perception of the value of faith and hope but Africa will never give up. This is especially because the HIV and AIDS epidemic is seemingly being accelerated and propelled by the combined forces of debilitating and systemic manifestation of homelessness, illiteracy, poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of resources and the absence of quick and passionate response on the part of many African leaders. Within this context, this paper has identified and examined scholarship that has developed around a group of Africans whom we can genuinely, in agreement with Stephen Lewis (2005:50), call the heroines of Africa. These are mainly the grandmothers and orphaned grandchildren who venture to step in when and where everyone else fears to tread. Their involvement has prompted learning together with a view to intervening strategically to halt the epidemic. The approach used is to analyze briefly the circumstances that induced their emergence, how their operations have altered the objective and focus of intergenerational learning and then the support that would be needed to remain at the forefront of the campaign against HIV and AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Keywords: Death, HIV & AIDS, intergenerational relationships, intervention, learning