Monday, November 29, 2010


Sometimes a human story can tell us more than a whole page of statistics about what’s going on in the world.

Tsitsi Dangarembga / Photo courtesy
One storyteller is Tsitsi Dangarembga. A novelist and filmmaker, she portrays the lives of people, family relationships and women’s situations in Zimbabwean society with candour and sharpness. Dangarembga’s novel Nervous Conditions (1988) and her films Neria (1993) and Everyone’s Child (1996) have blazed a trail in Zimbabwean literature and cinema.

I had the opportunity to see Everyone’s Child in Harare shortly after it was released. The film tells the difficult story of four children whose parents have died of AIDS, and underlines the value of community support.

Tsitsi Dangarembga continues to make films and her novel The Book of Not came out in 2006. She founded the International Images Film Festival for Women in Harare in 2002. In early 2010 Dangarembga was appointed portfolio Secretary for Education for the Movement for Democratic Change - Mutambara in Zimbabwe.

Statistics? Stories? I could tell you that the UN’s just-released figures on HIV/AIDS say that 22.5 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV, including 2.3 million children under 15 years old. Or that although new infections are declining in many countries, 1.8 million people were newly infected last year, or that 1.3 million people in Africa died of AIDS in 2009.

Or, I could suggest that you listen to their stories.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation has information about the organisations it supports that are working to strengthen communities dealing with HIV/AIDS. (They can tell you the stories better than I can.)

One more story before I go. This one is a real-life story about how one community in Kenya is supporting its members coping with HIV/AIDS. (The video features Francis Muiruri, the Nyeri District Coordinator of the Kenya Network of Women with AIDS, and was written, filmed and edited by a Canadian, the multi-talented Jasmine Osiowy, and narrated by educator extraordinaire Rod Osiowy, for the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, Canada.)

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