Sibongile, from Swaziland, lost her home and possessions as a result of gender discrimination and poverty. When her husband died of AIDS, his family forced her and her children out of their house. After struggling to survive, she found a job as an AIDS activist and now works to secure the equal rights of women and children in her country.
Special thanks to the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa for providing this story.
Key points to consider in viewing Sibongile’s story
Traditional culture, women’s rights, and family conflict can intersect in complicated ways. The challenges Sibongile has faced are found not just in Swaziland but also throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. Women often have less status and less money than men do, and also less power to make their own decisions. This means that HIV and AIDS affect women and men differently. And yet there is hope embedded in this story: for Sibongile as an individual and for all women who join together in support of their rights.