Ethno-cognitive connections between HIV/AIDS and banana plants in the Bahaya agricultural society in north-western Tanzania

V. Githinji

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper focuses on ethno-cognitive connections between HIV/AIDS and banana plants in the Bahaya agricultural society that emerged from an anthropological study carried out in 2005-2006 in Nsisha, a rural village in Bukoba District, north-western Tanzania. The paper briefly describes the historical context of HIV/AIDS and how its onset coincided with a decline in the production of bananas, the historical, cultural and staple food of the Bahaya people. In addition, references are made in Luhaya, the primary language spoken in the region, to demonstrate that HIV/AIDS is communicated about within the context of socio-cultural, economic, and agricultural transition that resulted, amongst other things, in a sharp decline in banana production. It is shown that for the Bahaya, HIV/AIDS is yet another ecological challenge that coincides with a decline in soil fertility, diminishing access to land, increased poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, and a lower production of their long-standing cultural and staple Food. The paper examines some of the possible reasons why HIV/AIDS is referred to as ekiuka, a combination of pathogens that destroy bananas. The paper concludes that HIV/AIDS and banana plants are cognitively linked and that understanding how people communicate about HIV/AIDS is important for understanding how HIV/AIDS is connected to the Bahaya agricultural livelihood and for implementing effective alleviation strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-200
    JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
    Volume56
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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