This research focuses on the lives of migrant mine labourers in the Free State Gold mines of Welkom. After a lengthy absence from home, away from home, some of the migrant mine labourers contact the deadly disease of HIV/AIDS. As they become weaker to work at the mines, some are relegated work at the surface, some are sent to the local hospice whilst some are left to die alone without anyone caring for them. The local community of Welkom regarded these miners as the carriers and transporters of this deadly disease due to their perceived slackness in morality by using the services of the local ladies of the night (commercial sex workers). On the basis of the above painted scenario, the migrant mine labourers were thus subjected to discrimination and stigmatisation by the local community, who regarded them as foreigners even in their country of birth. The research, therefore, aimed to pastorally journey with the infected mine labourers through their trauma of being infected by HIV/AIDS AND of being discriminated and rejected by the community which is supposed to support them in their hour of need and despair. Since the spread of HIV/AIDS is largely through sexual contact, the research, therefore, examined both the community and the church’s attitude towards sex, stigma and discrimination. A participatory observation approach was used and the analysis of the concepts that were at play during the trauma of the infected mine labourers were examined. In this research, the local community was viewed as the fertile ground of hostility against the infected migrant mine labourers. In this regard, the study powered the infected mining community with the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS and therefore sought ways and means of forming a support base for those infected and affected. This was done by breaking the conspiracy of silence around the issue of HIV/AIDS both at the community and the church level. Finally, the study concluded with ways of empowering the pastoral care-giver on how to journey with someone who has been diagnosed with HIV in order to close one’s last chapter of life in honour and dignity. New approaches based on relevant literature and affirmation of God’s power and healing were suggested.
Dissertation (MA(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2011.