Performing Blackness in a South African HIV/AIDS Choir Journal Article uri icon



  • The Siphithemba Choir, an HIV/AIDS support group at the McCord Mission Hospital in Durban, South Africa, uses songs that conflate "Africa" and "Black Race" (abantu abamnyama) or "Black Nation" (Umnyama yezwe) to perform their experience of HIV/AIDS, thus signaling global ethnic/racial consciousness in the context of the HIV/AIDS discourse. This paper argues that the musical referencing of race and ethnicity by this group of HIV-positive South Africans could be explained as a function of related factors: the nature of the AIDS virus, the history and lingering effects of apartheid, the continuing interracial acrimony in the post-apartheid environment, and the global politics of AIDS. A combination of these factors has inevitably impacted how HIV/AIDS is perceived and interpreted through the lens of race. Hence the Siphithemba Choir's musical performance is analyzed in this paper as an expressive articulation of an African and Black experience of AIDS, and a performance of Black identity in the context of the global AIDS pandemic. Adapted from the source document.

publication date

  • April 1, 2011

Date in CU Experts

  • September 30, 2013 11:40 AM

Full Author List

  • Okigbo AC

author count

  • 1

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1742-058X

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 241

end page

  • 251


  • 8


  • 1