When she arrived in Gaborone on June 24th, First Lady Michelle Obama visited an AIDS clinic to help children paint a mural. Continue reading
Max Essex and Unity Dow kicked off the American book tour of Saturday Is for Funerals in Boston at the Harvard Club on May 17th 2010. The book explores both the science and the personal stories behind the AIDS epidemic in southern Africa.
I KNOW YOU STILL LOVE ME: SEXUAL TRANSMISSION
Chapter 2 from Saturday Is for Funerals
Divorces in Botswana are heard by the High Court; that is how seriously the country views marriage. By the time a marriage occurs, there will have been, at the very minimum, six family meetings, starting with those involving close family and progressing to those involving easily sixty or more extended family members. During the weeks, sometimes months, of family meetings and negotiations, small and big feasts are enjoyed, during which presents of bogadi cattle, firewood, and clothes are handed over to the bride’s family by the husband’s. By the time the couple says their Western-influenced “I do’s” before the marriage officer or Catholic priest or minister of religion, and an equally Western-style wedding party is held under white tents, all the customary aspects of the marriage process have been concluded. Parents, uncles, and aunts have given their advice, and the recurring message is simple: “Not two people but two families have just been joined in marriage, and nothing, not even death, is expected to end the relationship.” In fact, according to custom a deceased woman can remain married to a living man. So death does not, per se, end marriage under traditional law. Continue reading
Unity Dow is a novelist, lawyer, and human rights activist. A native of Botswana, Dow earned acclaim as a young lawyer for her stances on women’s rights. She became the first woman justice on Botswana’s High Court where she served for ten years. After stepping down from the Court in 2009, she opened Dow & Associates, a law firm in Botswana. In 2010 she was appointed as a judge on the Interim Constitutional Court of Kenya whose mandate is to hear cases arising from Kenya’s constitutional review process. Continue reading
They are an odd couple of co-authors. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative and a world-renowned research scientist, teamed up with Unity Dow, author of four novels and the first woman to sit on Botswana’s High Court, to write Saturday Is for Funerals. The book, a hybrid of science about HIV/AIDS and the personal stories of African families affected by the epidemic, plays to the strengths of both authors. Continue reading