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BW Namibia

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Elaine Maane’s book – my thoughts

UmzalaUmzala – a woman’s story of living with HIV

“I knew that, no matter what the circumstances, I had to carry on by gathering strength for my own sake and for the little boy who was too small to truly know or understand what was going on” Elaine Maane, on her decision to accept her HIV status

When I first met Elaine Maane I found her to be a humble, soft spoken trainer who
like most HIV/ AIDS activists, works tirelessly because of her dedication to the cause. Imagine my surprise on reading her life story and discovering the achievements and strides this young woman has made for HIV positive women and men in Southern Africa. Elaine’s efforts have
taken her to Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.

Elaine was not only the one who inspired the Mothers to Mothers Programme in Cape Town, but she is also a founding member of Positive Living. Despite her achievements, she remains down to earth.

In her book, Elaine describes her reaction on discovering that she had contracted HIV during her marriage. She discusses her assumptions (and those of many other married people she knew) who believed they were safe
within marriage. She describes the misperception that most people have to this day – that only promiscuous people are vulnerable to HIV. We sit next to her son after she has gathered enough courage while to disclose her HIV status to him. We experience her relief when the rest of her family and friends choose to accept her after her disclosure. We share the anguish of losing loved ones and fellow HIV/AIDS activists to AIDS, and the joy of those whose health improves after they agree to take antiretroviral medication.

Although this book seems like easy reading, the subject matter can be upsetting and a little too close to home for those who have been close to an HIV positive loved one. However, the choice to make something of her life and pursue her dreams is what makes all the emotions you experience while reading this book worthwhile. Elaine’s story shows us the human side of HIV, the daily struggles, the joys and the triumphs of those living with HIV and AIDS.

At the back of the book are lessons and questions for discussion based on the experiences of Elaine and others who have crossed her path.

Topics of the lessons include stigma, denial, acceptance, disclosure, taking ARVs and dealing with the side effects amongst others. This book is a precious resource that can inform and inspire any person who would like to learn more about the HIV/AIDS pandemic including Community Development workers in the field of HIV/AIDS.

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    September 3rd, 2009 @09:19 #

    Welcome back to blogging. Nabu. This book sounds truly inspiring. It is frightening to think that people who have experienced the trauma of a positive HIV diagnosis then have to face the fear of rejection by their friends and loved ones. This book seems to show that this fear can be unfounded.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">nabukenya</a>
    September 4th, 2009 @20:59 #

    Thanks Fiona! its good to be back it has been too long. How cute you called me nabu. Anyway its true many people get rejected and worse and this book is really going to help all of us whatever our status!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    September 5th, 2009 @00:38 #

    Hello from me too. Good to see your face and words popping up again.


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