Thirty-five years has gone by since the first diagnosis of HIV in Zimbabwe. Causes and reasons
for the disease and its spread vary from place to place and from society to society. In some
cases, the usage of needles and other medical apparatus is blamed for causing the disease. In
some other instances, some religious beliefs are held responsible for the pandemic. However,
it is a different case with the Tonga females of the Pashu community in Zimbabwe. The belief
is that HIV among the Tonga females is perpetuated by some cultural practices and beliefs.
The practices and beliefs pose a danger to the lives of the Tonga females from the age of infancy
to that of elderly women. The culture of silence, loyalty and submissiveness has even
aggravated the suffering of these people. The culture has denied them an opportunity to seek
medical aid and pastoral therapy. Hope for life and a future for these people are inevitably lost.
The study is, therefore, an effort to validate the assumed claim that the Tonga females are
exposed to HIV by some of the cultural practices. It is also the purpose of this study to create
a pastoral care methodology which will be used to view the problem from a pastoral
perspective. A review of the alleged cultural practices is also the business of this study.
This research is part of the
project, ‘Pastoral Care and
Trauma Counselling’, directed
by Prof. Dr Maake Masango,
Department of Practical
Theology, Faculty of
Theology, University of
This article represents a reworked version of aspects from the PhD dissertation of Vincent Frank Ncube, ‘HIV and AIDS in rural
Tonga culture’, prepared under the supervision of Prof. Dr Maake Masango, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria,
South Africa. (http://hdl.handle.net/2263/53068)