Impact of Culture on the Spread of Hiv/Aids in Kenya Essay

5443 Words Nov 27th, 2010 22 Pages
Abdalla A. Bafagih
Professor Trent Newmeyer
Sociology of AIDS
Soc 309Y1F
June 21, 2004

Impact of Culture on the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Kenya

a national culture is not a folklore, nor an abstract populism that believes it can discover the people’s true nature….a national culture is the whole body of the efforts made by a people in the sphere of thought to describe, justify and praise the action through which that people has created itself and keeps itself in existence (Fanon, Frantz).


Culture, even in the twenty first century, has numerous denotations. In various parts of the world, it has been and is still considered to be important for the development of civilization and of people’s
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And then their widows are inherited” (ibid.). It is this vicious circle that explains the rising HIV rates in Kenya. Kenya has vibrant and diverse cultural groups but some groups elevate ethnicity above nationalism. This makes it sometimes problematic to deal with intra and inter cultural norms or to undertake reforms of certain entrenched traditions. On one hand you have believers in Christianity who are more willing to abandon certain outdated traditions such as those discussed in this paper. For instance, a Kenyan bishop, called on widows to take a stand against wife inheritance (Gonza, Sam. 2000, p, 1). On the other hand you have the rigid traditionalists who are not open to any reforms or changes within traditions. There is usually no middle ground and unfortunately it cuts across class lines. We agree with the position put forward by Human Rights Watch in their report entitled Double Standards: Women’s Property Rights Violations in Kenya that “as important as cultural diversity and respecting customs may be, if customs are a source of discrimination against women, they like any other norm-must evolve” (2003, p, 2). Kenya has approximately forty tribes, which are co-related to the four greater ethnic groups (Buckley, Stephen. Washington Post, November 8, 1997): Bantu, Nilo-Hamitic, Nilotic and Hamitic (see figure i). Because of it’s neighboring, cultures are related to each other within Kenya and in the border countries such as Uganda,

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