Stultifying Gender Binaries in HIV and AIDS Related Novelistic Discourse: Implications for Gender Education
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The article is an exposition and a critique of selected novelistic voices in Shona, whose subject matter also includes HIV and AIDS. Yet the informing philosophy on HIV and AIDS in the novels is gender difference as the modus operandi and sine qua non of social existence. Such a conceptual mode leads the writers to place both genders on a grading scale to see which poses the greatest danger to society. The unequivocal position that emerges in the novels is that women are largely responsible for the transmission of HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, we argue that such a vision is narrow and narrowing, ideologically vapid, pedagogically subversive and dis-empowering especially considering that Shona literature (in particular the novels analyzed in this article) is taught in secondary schools , colleges and universities. Since the 'soul of a nation is found in the temple of its arts’, creative writers, who are the modern version of village storytellers are part of the national project on gender education, particularly in this HIV and AIDS era. Literary creators who discourse on HIV and AIDS cease to be mere ‘writers in fiction’ because these are incontrovertibly matters of life and death.