The Traditionalization of Menopause among the Karanga of Zimbabwe and the Shangaan Tsonga of Mozambique in a Context of HIV

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Herbert Moyo

Abstract

The spread of HIV in Africa South of the Sahara is alarmingly high especial among girls aged between 12 and 24 years despite the knowledge that society has about how HIV spreads particularly through unprotected heterosexual sexual intercourse. In Mberengwa there is also a rise in infection cases among older men aged 50 and above. On the other hand sexual intercourse is premised in the private space. It is general frowned upon for anyone to openly talk about sexual intercourse. In the midst of the silences about sexual intercourse people are very active sexual. Of note is that women who reach menopause amongst the Karanga and the Shangaan Tsonga communities are barred from having sexual intercourse. This paper reflects on traditional beliefs and explanations of menopause amongst the Karanga people of Mberengwa, Zimbabwe and the Shangaan Tsonga of Mozambique which I think have a contribution in the spread of HIV amongst young girls and old men (and some old women) through trans-generational sex with multiple sexual partners in some cases. Findings through focus group discussions in Zimbabwe and Mozambique demonstrate that the traditionalization of sexuality regardless of developments in biological knowledge contribute to the spread of HIV especial among the older men. The cultural beliefs have resulted in behaviours that lead to trans-generational multiple sexual partners. This paper argues that the cultural explanations of the meaning of blood released by women during menstruation requires some biological explanation to ease the fears and taboos thereof among the Karanga and the Shangaan Tsonga. This paper concludes that the continued use of traditionalised explanations of menstrual blood is a possible source for the spread of HIV especial in a trans-generational manner amongst the concerned tribal groupings.

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How to Cite
Moyo, H. (2016). The Traditionalization of Menopause among the Karanga of Zimbabwe and the Shangaan Tsonga of Mozambique in a Context of HIV. Alternation Journal, 23(2), 250-265. Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/soa/article/view/1286
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Articles
Author Biography

Herbert Moyo, University of KwaZulu-Natal,



moyoh@ukzn.ac.za