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The Culture of AIDS in AfricaHope and Healing Through Music and the Arts$
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Gregory Barz and Judah Cohen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.001.0001

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Singing for Life:

Songs of Hope, Healing, and HIV/AIDS in Uganda

(p.20) 2 Interlude
The Culture of AIDS in Africa

Gregory Barz

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that we should move beyond medical models in order to approach culturally bound frameworks for understanding HIV/AIDS in localized African contexts. Drawing on case studies in Uganda, it demonstrates how multiple meanings often accompany the indigenization of AIDS in a population. By positioning interventions within the domain of general care and treatment, it highlights the importance of artistic responses to HIV/AIDS. It explores the use of music as medical intervention among women’s groups and its role in reducing HIV infection rates in both rural and urban areas of Uganda. The chapter provides a background on Ugandan music and the appearance of songs about HIV/AIDS in a cross-section of local languages. It shows that singing and dancing have been among the earliest interventions directed at HIV in the country. In both songs and dramas, Ugandans educate, care for, and console one another through music, as they have done for decades.

Keywords:   music, HIV/AIDS, Uganda, women’s groups, songs, local languages, singing, dancing, dramas, medical intervention

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