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AIDS and heritage management in South Africa: The case of traditional male circumcision

Year: 2008
Working paper number: 213
Author: Deacon, Harriet
Unit: ASRU
Abstract:

The AIDS pandemic poses a serious threat to heritage resources, tangible and intangible, and to communities who practice and value these heritage resources, especially in Southern Africa. Cultural practices, such as male circumcision and initiation rites, will also have an impact on the progress and effects of the AIDS pandemic. There has not been enough debate about how to deal with heritage issues in mitigating the impact of the pandemic and how to deal with HIV and AIDS issues in the heritage sector. This paper discusses how culture is represented as both problem and solution in AIDS discourse, and suggests how intangible heritage management can inform management of HIV risk. It then discusses the implications of a heritage management perspective for AIDS programming, using the case study of traditional male circumcision (MC) in South Africa. It concludes that by focusing on heritage safeguarding, AIDS programming can acknowledge the value that local cultural practices have for people, while negotiating acceptable change where necessary. This helps to engage communities and takes us beyond simply 'educating' people to change their behaviour.


Publication file: WP213.pdf
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