Monday, May 7, 2007

Nirmala Gopal

Nirmala Gopal
Nirmala Gopal has worked with and researched the lives of a cohort of AIDS orphans in Jozini KwaZulu-Natal. She has been part of the Sinekthemba Support Group at the McCord’s Mission Hospital and has a keen interest in HIV/AIDS related research and challenges. She enjoys working with young children and young adults.

In her chapter, Voices of HIV positive young mothers, Nirmala writes about the concerns and anxieties of young HIV-positive mothers. They speak about the problems of stigmatisation and the difficulties of disclosure, even to boyfriends, partners and close family. But they are most concerned about the welfare of their children. The women hold to ‘traditional’ or ‘cultural’ beliefs which attribute illness to personal conflicts and jealousies. These may be particularly attractive because, Nirmala argues, they offer possibilities of cures through the mediation of the sangoma or witchdoctor (in contrast to modern medicine). However, the women understand the ramifications of their HIV status, illustrated in their concern that their children may have to grow up and manage without them.

Gopal, Nirmala. 'Voices of HIV positive young mothers', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 372-377.