By Azwihangwisi Mufamadi
Africa is faced with more problems than any other continent in the world. These problems include, amongst other things, the killing of innocent people because of their ethnicity or their religion (which is what is happening in Darfur), the power struggles in countries such as Somalia, Congo and Uganda; and diseases such as malaria and HIV/Aids.
Malaria kills more than 850 thousand people a year in Africa alone, yet nothing is said about it. HIV/Aids provides Africa with an additional layer of problems. Other people even go as far as saying that Aids is an abbreviation for ‘Africans in deep shit’. A lot of money is being pumped into providing people with Aids education, antiretroviral drugs for HIV/Aids patients and condoms.
However, the fight against HIV and Aids has proved to be far from over, especially in a country like South Africa where some of the leaders have proved to be desperately in need of Aids education themselves.
Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, has been strongly in favour of nutrition as a prevention method in the fight against HIV/Aids. At the recent Aids conference in Toronto, she promoted beetroot, lemons and garlic as an alternative to antiretroviral drugs. While nearly 800 000 people are dieing of HIV/Aids everyday in South Africa, Tshabala-Msimang (or should I say Dr Beetroot as she is now known) showed the world that she likes vegetables.
Tshabalala-Msimang is not the only prominent figure who can benefit from Aids education. Jacob Zuma, former deputy president of South Africa, has also proved to know nothing more than putting on his Aids ribbon. In his rape trial early last year, Zuma said that taking a shower after having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman would lessen the risk of contracting the virus. This statement has been huge step backwards in the fight against HIV/Aids because Zuma was perceived as someone who knows a lot about HIV since he was once head of the National Aids Council.
The National Aids helpline has reported that after Zuma mentioned his shower theory, the number of calls they receive increased with a lot of people asking about the validity of the shower, while women called to ask if they should take a shower after being raped.
Zuma’s theory not only provided questions about how to prevent HIV/Aids, but also about Zuma’s ability to lead South Africa. With people like Jacob Zuma and Manto Tshabalala-Msimang holding high offices in South Africa, it only shows that ministers are given positions that they know nothing about.
Since becoming a familiar face to the media during the rape trial, Zuma has been using culture to defend his actions. He would make a great minister of arts and culture and he would be working on something he knows (or at least pretends to know) and as for Tshabalala-Msimang, she would do a great job in helping to grow vegetables as the minister of agriculture.