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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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“I’m a Rich Man, How Can I Die?”

“I’m a Rich Man, How Can I Die?”

Circus Performance as a Means of HIV/AIDS Education in Ethiopia

Chapter:
(p.322) 27 “I’m a Rich Man, How Can I Die?”
Source:
The Culture of AIDS in Africa
Author(s):

Leah Niederstadt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.003.0027

This chapter focuses on the role of circuses as a means of HIV/AIDS education in Ethiopia. Circus as a form of performance was nearly unknown when the first troupe was established in Ethiopia in 1991. Dozens of circuses now operate throughout the country, and several Ethiopian troupes have performed throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. The chapter first presents a historical overview of the circus movement in Ethiopia, as well as the country’s HIV/AIDS profile, before exploring several key performances to illustrate how Ethiopian circuses attempt to educate their audiences about HIV/AIDS. It also considers two types of educational messages provided by Ethiopian circus performances: first, they reinforce federal, regional, and state government rhetoric about the importance of ethnic diversity in the construction of a national identity; second, circus shows provide information about a range of health and development issues, and suggest how specific challenges can be resolved.

Keywords:   circus, HIV/AIDS education, Ethiopia, HIV/AIDS, ethnic diversity, national identity, health, development

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