In this investigation an attempt was firstly made to define, describe and explicate the phenomenon of HIV/AIDS providing a basis for understanding the multidimensional nature of HIV/AIDS in terms of its history, key characteristics, etiology, consequences, preventative and care strategies. Secondly, culture and cultural practices in general were investigated after which the characteristics, functions and elements of culture were studied. Hereafter, the researcher further investigated the situation of HIV/AIDS and cultural practices of the Batswana in Botswana through a literature study. The aim of the study was to establish the influence of cultural practices of the Batswana on the transmission of HIV/AIDS in Botswana. Three research questions were formulated for the study. The research questions included: (a) What are the current nature and prevalence of cultural practices of the Batswana in relation to the transmission of HIV/AIDS in Botswana? (b) To what extents do these cultural practices contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS? (c) What can be done to prevent the problem of HIV/AIDS in relation with cultural practices of Batswana people in Botswana? The selected research approach for the study was the combined quantitative- qualitative approach and the type of research, was identified as applied research. An exploratory research design was selected to reach the objectives of the study, namely: (a) To conduct the investigation within a theoretical based framework by undertaking a literature review on HIV/AIDS as a social phenomena, culture and cultural practices in general and the culture of the Batswana specifically. (b) To explore through an empirical study, the nature and prevalence of cultural practices of Batswana in relation to the transmission of HIV/AIDS in Botswana (c) To provide conclusions regarding the cultural practices of the Batswana in relation to the transmission of HIV/AIDS in Botswana. (d) To make recommendations for culturally appropriate behaviour-change strategies for Batswana in Botswana in an attempt to decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS. Qualitative data through focus group discussions (22 females and 26 males) was collected. The sample thus included 48 respondents. The empirical research findings confirmed that it is acceptable in Botswana that men can have multiple relationships even after marriage. This includes polygamy, which is still part of the Batswana culture. Children are very important therefore the use of condoms is unacceptable. Prevention strategies do not take cultural practices into consideration. The empirical findings based on quantitative data collected through a structured interview schedule with 66 respondents revealed that the two statements: (a) “ A man is like a bull and should not be confined to one pasture” and (b) “Men are the only persons who can go to the cattle post and this puts women in subordinate positions” are part of the Batswana culture. These behaviours contribute to the spread of HIV. Alcohol consumption is also a contributory factor to the transmission of HIV. The family should take responsibility in educating the children about HIV/AIDS. The aim of the study and study objectives were achieved and a detailed presentation of recommendations are included in this research report.
Thesis (DPhil (Social Work))--University of Pretoria, 2005.