HIV/AIDS and Culture

2009 Human Development Awards for Excellence - Special Recognition

In the past, Swaziland as a nation has met many challenges, including wars, droughts, famines and epidemics. Fortunately, the country has fought off the challenges with firm resolve and determination assisted largely by a strong adherence in her culture that created national unity, cohesion and bondage among the Swazi nation. However, a more recent challenge currently facing the Swazi nation is the HIV and AIDS pandemic. This pandemic is not only national, but regional and global and hence a more formidable challenge to fight than many of the past challenges. With about 40 percent of pregnant women attending anti-natal care clinic and close to 50 percent in some subgroups of pregnant women attending antenatal care clinic living with HIV and AIDS, and the pandemic spreading fast, Swaziland nationhood may soon be wiped off the world map. As can be seen in Box 1, His Majesty King Mswati III has already warned Parliament and the nation to find a solution to the challenge or face the extinction of the country. This solution could be in the Swazi culture.