Speech and Song at the Margins of Global Health tells the story of a unique Zulu gospel choir comprised of people living with HIV in South Africa, and how they maintained healthy, productive lives amid globalized inequality, international aid, and the stigma that often comes with having HIV. By singing, joking, and narrating about HIV in Zulu, the performers in the choir were able to engage with international audiences, connect with global health professionals, and also maintain traditional familial respect through the prism of performance. The focus on gospel singing in the narrative provides a holistic viewpoint on life with HIV in the later years of the pandemic, and the author’s musical engagement led to fieldwork in participants’ homes and communities, including the larger stigmatized community of infected individuals. This viewpoint suggests overlooked ways that aid recipients contribute to global health in support, counseling, and activism, as the performers set up instruments, waited around in hotel lobbies, and struck up conversations with passersby and audience members. The story of the choir reveals the complexity and inequities of global health interventions, but also the positive impact of those interventions in the crafting of community.
Author: Steven P. Black
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
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