Understanding HIV/AIDS effects through systems principles : a case study of home-based care giving in Bhambayi.
This dissertation, employing an array of theoretical approaches under the rubric of Systems Thinking, explores the reality and experiences of family members that mainly provide care at home for their loved ones who live with or are directly affected by HIV & AIDS. Employing a multidisciplinary approach, the dissertation demonstrates how Systems Thinking, feminist and indigenous knowledge principles can be employed for a better understanding of the contemporary construction of family and experiences of caregivers in an HIV & AIDS context. The discussion of the dissertation is based on data analysed following in-depth interviews with fifteen caregivers of the Bhambayi community. The findings of the study reflect a significant change in the definition and practice of parenting. It was found that HIV & AIDS forces a re-definition of the concept and practice of parenting beyond the traditional boundaries of age, sex and gender. Aligned with this main finding was that parenting practices and coping strategies are largely influenced by a strong commitment to the well-being of the children as well as societal constructs. The thesis of this dissertation is that the HIV & AIDS context and associated gender and cultural stereotypes are principally responsible for a significant shift in the understanding of the concept and practice of parenting within an African context. The study thus submits that a Systems Thinking approach ought to be used by interventionists to better understand and thus contribute towards improving the lives of families or communities in similar circumstance as that of the Bhambayi families.