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S-AFRIKA-Program for forskningsamarbeid med Sør- Afrika

Broken Women, Healing Traditions? Indigenous resources for gender Critique and Social transformation in the Context of AIDS in South Africa.

Tildelt: kr 1,0 mill.

The success in combating AIDS may depend upon whether we are able to support women´s agency and emerging leadership roles, overcome the overly moralist and curative discourse of AIDS and extend the field to include a deeper, communal healing approach. Thi s must include women´s yearning for radical social change, be alert to a new field of ritual invention and appropriation at the interface of Christian and indigenous resources. In this field mother´s try to protect their daughters, rework violent experien ces and invoke new hopes for the future by renegotiating faith and what it means to live womanly with balanced social relations. The yearning for change has the effect of ongoing creative activity in reconstituting rituals and making them new and powerful in the present. Our research will be based on ethnographic and narrative methods and contribute to an understanding for why women re-appropriate African indigenous knowledge systems in order to find tools for healing and fight for social and gendered cha nges. What do these resources consist of, and to what extent do they include visions of new partnership models between women and men? Which roles do mediators as male and female Sangomas play in interpreting, bridging and filling them with power? It is im portant to learn how this work is orchestrated socially and incorporated ritually to help guard integrity and boundary of the subject. Re-appropriation of tradition is not a culturally or politically innocent move but is itself in need of critical examina tion, in our case, with the discipline of theology and its critical discourse on autonomy versus interdependence. This study provides new knowledge for critical gender studies and the religious construction of gendered personhood. It raises critical quest ions for how we construct interventions in the field by asking how we can contribute to building healing communities of active prevention and self-education.


S-AFRIKA-Program for forskningsamarbeid med Sør- Afrika