RETHINKING: A Need To Revise African Traditional Religion (ATR) In An Effort To Reduce HIV & AIDS Prevalence and Sexual Abuse of Women in Zimbabwe.
Arthur Douglas Mujeri wrote this article as an independent writer. After reading several books and articles about HIV and AIDS and Traditional cultures in Africa during his days at University of Zimbabwe as a Bachelor of Arts student from 2012 to 2015, he wrote this article. The purpose of the article is does not seek to make people think that African Traditional Religion(s) (ATR) is evil religion as some of the Eurocentric scholars argue but to give an account of ATR and its contribution to HIV and AIDS in an effort to educate people to fight against the epidemic and stop abuse of women.
African Traditional Religion (ATR) and African culture is inseparable because it is the religion that shapes and defines the uniqueness of African way of life and their belief practices. High HIV and AIDS prevalence rate is one of the problems that is affecting many African countries, this calls for collective response to the epidemic in order to reduce its prevalence. There are several African Traditional Religious practices that can speed the spread of HIV and AIDS, that includes aphrodisiacs’ (mushonga wemusana), inheritance of wife ( kugara nhaka), appeasing avenging spirits (kuripa ngozi), polygamy (barika), sororate marriage ( chimutsamapfiwa) and beliefs by some diviners that an HIV and AIDS patient can reduce the virus by having sex with young HIV negative person(s). These traditional practices promote the spread of HIV and AIDS whilst on the hand promotes abuse of young girls and women. There is need for African Traditional leaders and all believers to join hands with the world to fight against HIV, this can be achieved if some African Traditional Religious practices are revised and put to an end some of them. Traditionally in Africa, women are viewed as weaker than men, this masculine idea promotes the abuse of women since their voice will not be heard. One also needs to understand that to conclude by saying that ATR promotes spread HIV and AIDS will be regarded as grossly miscarriage of facts since there are some African Traditional religious practices which have contributed positively in dealing with HIV and AIDS, these include the concept of ubuntuism/ hunhuism that promotes togetherness against stigmatisation of people living with HIV and AIDS. Also Shona traditional herb such as gundamiti which is believed to be helpful in reducing HIV virus although it is still controversial among medical practitioners pertaining its effectiveness. Also prostitution is denounced as unAfrican so African Traditional Religion encourages women to stop it as it is seen as it is against human values (hunhu). African Traditional Religion does not support homosexuality which is also increasing the rate of HIV and AIDS.
Negative contribution of African Traditional Religion...