Just when I thought I have read all there is to read about HIV and AIDS, here comes a book that takes an absolutely different dimension to the subject. It does not end there, it goes on to challenge the patriarchy that sometimes parades itself as culture and how damaging it can be sometimes in African marriages.
With the media doing their bit in early summer every year, mainly due to 1st December, you would think nothing can be said about HIV that can change people’s habits that has not been said already. Especially with all the Lovelife billboards that co-exist with pregnant teenagers cum school drop-outs.
Now Sindiwe Magona, in her novel ‘beauty’s gift’ takes a thought-provoking approach. It may very well be that my mind is always ready to think; hence it is easily provoked to think. I suppose even the thick-headed could learn a lesson or two.
It is an easy read, presented in a graphically descriptive language that captures your imagination. Oddly enough it begins with a climax, and carries it the entire 165 pages. Due to my busy schedule I managed to finish it within 3 days, it could have been two if I had done it over the weekend.
You may have attended a funeral of a person who is alleged to have died of AIDS, attended an HIV/AIDS workshop, debated with friends about taking a test, or attended an AIDS day celebration and felt immediately after any of these that from then on your going to abstain. Later, changed you mind that you would rather be faithful because you have one straight partner anyway. Much later changed your mind that you would rather use a condom consistently because you cannot drop the other women (or men) that easily. In the end you do, from time to time, omit to use a condom for all sorts of excuses.
I would recommend the book mostly to young people. I would further suggest, to hundreds of parents who are readers of this blog, that they buy the book for their children this Christmas. It is an eye opener. I dare say it is life changing.
The book is available in many book stores in South Africa.
NB: I know Ndumiso Ngcobo’s 2nd book will be out in a couple of weeks. I will review it as well. Patience please, patience.