chapter  5
10 Pages

Women's Health, Sociocultural Practices, and HIV/AIDS in Swaziland

WithMamane Nxumalo

This chapter explains the many ways in which Swazi women are entrapped within the social confines of culture, which can directly and indirectly expose them to the deadly disease acquired immune deficiency syndrome and other sexually transmitted diseases. Swazi traditional culture also has many taboos and habits that women are expected to conform to. For example, the young wife in the family is forbidden to eat certain foods. Although rape is a criminal offense in Swaziland, there are too many rapes of minors as reported in the media. The woman in Swazi culture may also be disadvantaged by the practice of levirate, whereby she may be forced to marry someone else after the death of her husband. In Swaziland, it is commonly known that migratory labor has, in part, contributed to many situations of family discord and societal destabilization, largely due to the extended separation of families caused by their economic circumstances.