The Prophylactics Debate: Is Unhu/Ubuntu an Alternative for Zimbabwe?

  • G. Museka University of Zimbabwe
  • M. Phiri University of Zimbabwe
  • D. Kaguda University of Zimbabwe
  • B. C. Manyarara University of Zimbabwe


In view of the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS infection among Zimbabwean school children, liberals have been calling for the distribution of prophylactics, commonly known as condoms/sheath, to pupils. This, however, has sparked a great deal of controversy as the conservatives, guided by the religio-cultural and moral philosophy of unhu/ubuntu, strongly feel that while it is necessary to curb the spread of HIV and AIDS among pupils, distributing prophylactics to pupils is an anathema. Using data collected through focus group discussions, interviews and document analysis, this article explores the merits and demerits of issuing these prophylactics to school children in the religio-cultural context of Zimbabwe. In doing this, empirical evidence from countries such as Zambia, Uganda, United States of America and Britain, have been cited in an attempt to demonstrate the appropriateness or inappropriateness of distributing prophylactics to pupils. The study revealed that instead of prophylactics, a curriculum that promotes unhu/ubuntu moral philosophy has the potential to offer a more appropriate response to the problem of HIV and AIDS among pupils. The philosophy requires us not only to reconsider, but also to radically transform the socialisation of the boy child and men.

Author Biographies

G. Museka, University of Zimbabwe
Lecturer, Department of Curriculum & Arts
M. Phiri, University of Zimbabwe
Lecturer, Department of Curriculum & Arts
D. Kaguda, University of Zimbabwe
Lecturer,Department of Linguistics
B. C. Manyarara, University of Zimbabwe
Lecturer, Department of Curriculum & Arts

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1013-3445