Chanda's Secrets-the Stigma of Aids

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Stigma is shown throughout many subjects; obesity, mental illness and the most powerful and worse stigma; the stigma of AIDS. The stigma of AIDS is clearly shown through a powerful story set in the middle of the African HIV and AIDS pandemic. The novel Chanda’s secrets accurately demonstrates the stigma of AIDS by portraying characters blinded by fear, being ashamed, feeling sinful, and living in denial. The stigma is shown through a maturing young girl’s point of view, seeing others and as well as herself confronting the different ‘symptoms’ of the stigma and what steps both she and the other characters took to overcome them. To begin with, being blinded by fear is associated with the Stigma of AIDS. Most people are blinded by fear when it comes to shaming the family. When people cannot see past the fear, immoral and illogical decisions are made. Fear of the family being shamed is a large problem throughout the novel. In the district of Bonang and other Sub Saharan villages, most people will go to high extents to protect the family name, therefore leading to irrational decisions. In the novel Chanda’s Secrets, after Chanda’s Granny said they left Lilian at a cattle post in an old hut, she said “I’m sorry Chanda, this is a small village, we didn’t know what else to do” (Stratton, pg. 77). The last few words demonstrate that when blinded by fear people would take the unthinkable, unreasonable path. They hid mama where no one would see her. They abandoned her in her last dying hours because they did not want to be seen with her encase any passing villagers saw them. They would become a disgrace to the neighbourhood and to their ancestors.

Also, fear of what people will think ties in with being blinded by fear. In a judgemental society, one mistake and a person is marked for life. When it comes to a deadly virus such as AIDS, no one will forget who and which family carries it. Fear of what people will think of one when sought out to have the disease leads to...
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