INTEGRATION OF UBUNTU PHILOSOPHICAL VALUES INTO HIV AND AIDS PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT
Mbigi (1997) defines Ubuntu as a concrete manifestation of the interconnectedness of human beings, which is an embodiment of South African culture and lifestyle. Ubuntu enables awareness of one`s own being but also of one`s duties towards one`s neighbour, thereby enhancing promotion of development of positive human relationships. Not only are UBUNTU philosophical values applicable in our everyday lives, but even in the prevention and management of diseases. On the 1st of December as we commemorate World AIDS Day, lets integrate the following few philosophical values of Ubuntu into HIV and AIDS prevention and management as UNIVEN community:
Whilst an HIV positive person expects to be loved by the community, it is imperative that one starts by loving oneself despite the HIV positive status. The fact that one is HIV positive does not necessarily mean the end of life…. Therefore, don’t lose hope. Love helps you to protect yourself from further risks and infections. Show love to others and protect them from harm. Avoid multiple partners, sleeping around and engaging in unprotected sex, for all these put your life and that of your loved ones at risk. In the same breath, community around an HIV positive person need to provide love and warmth to an HIV positive person, as a supportive measure.
Acceptance of others is another component embraced by Ubuntu. An HIV positive person needs to have positive attitude towards himself/herself as an individual and towards the condition. This will enable him/her to comply with treatments; consequently, a positive mind enables the body to respond positively to the condition itself and to treatments. In addition, community members around an HIV positive person should treat an HIV infected person the same way they treat any member of the community; without any discrimination.
As an HIV positive person, treat yourself with respect and avoid being ignorant.
A person who doesn’t respect himself/herself goes around “spreading the infection intentionally” to as many as possible in the name of “…. I also was infected…”. That is ignorance and lack of self-respect, which puts one’s life in danger as one becomes infected by different strands of the virus. On the other hand, uninfected members of the community should take it upon themselves to accord an infected individual respect he/she deserves; avoiding any form of humiliation and labelling based on HIV positive status.
Sharing also forms the basis of Ubuntu philosophical values. HIV positive individuals can form support groups. It is in these groups whereby they can share ideas, experiences, encouragement and any other form of information around HIV and AIDS (e.g. taking of treatments) and life issues in general.
In conclusion, integration of Ubuntu philosophical values into disease prevention and management can promote case identification, treatment adherence, prevention of loss to follow-up and ultimately help the country achieve 2030 HIV global targets.
Prepared by: Dr Khathutshelo Grace Netshisaulu & Advocate Rudzani Makhema
Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 01 December 2021