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Tag: KwaZulu-Natal

Game for the World in Umlazi, South Africa

When Milicent Phewa discovered that her local church in Umlazi, a township near Durban in South Africa’s province of KwaZulu-Natal, did not have an HIV/AIDS community support program, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Stigma and discrimination where Phewa lives have prevented many people from talking openly about their status, making it easy for community leaders to ignore the problem. Milicent took a course to learn how to develop an HIV/AIDS program and became the HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s Natal Coastal District.  She believes that churches are ideal vehicles for providing HIV/AIDS programs because of the influence they have in their communities.

Milicent says that the Natal  Coastal district is large, stretching from Mozambique to just south of Durban. It’s challenging to visit all the rural areas. The district has many projects, including soup kitchens, orphanages, community gardens and home-based caregiving for people with HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Milicent and her coordinators raise awareness about HIV/AIDS through marches on World AIDS Day,  providing workshops and voluntary testing and counseling. She plans to use Game for the World with youth groups to open up the conversation around HIV. Milicent is shown below with Anne and her church colleagues.

 

 

 

February 9, 2013

Game for the World in Ixopo, South Africa

When I called Rev Mbuso Kubone to say that we were on a terrible road and we were going to be late, he laughed and said, “Now you are seeing the real South Africa!” Alan and I were bumping down 23 km of non-existent road on the way to Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal. We were starting to worry; we’d  lost our way and had a flat tire the day before, and had no spare.  The road finally improved and we made it to Rev Kubone’s home and the site of his new church, which is under construction.

Rev Mbuso Kubone is the youth coordinator for the Natal West District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. He lives in Ixopo, the main center of the southern midlands. It’s most famously described by Alan Paton in the opening lines of Cry, the Beloved Country: “There is a lovely road which runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass covered and rolling and they are lovely beyond any singing of it.” KwaZulu-Natal is called the garden province and is the home to the Zulu nation. Located in the southeast of South Africa, it borders three countries: Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.

We spent two hours with Mbuso, playing Game for the World and talking about the challenges his district faces. He says that young people are getting infected with HIV because they don’t want to use condoms, get tested or go to the doctor. “Some families shun family members with HIV,  they see them as cursed. HIV/AIDS has created tremendous tension in families, especially couples.”

Mbuso plans to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS by sharing Game for the World with his Sunday school teachers and at his district’s upcoming youth synod in March.  He is shown below with Anne and on the construction site of his church.

 

 

February 5, 2013


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