Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version

Fall 2004


Published in MultiCultural Review, v. 13, no. 3 (fall 2004): 99.


This slim volume is packed full of information about the plight of children in Africa due to the AIDS crisis. It is divided into four sections-Vulnerability, Coping, Courage, and Possibility-containing not just a litany of the horrors that children in Africa face but also descriptions of attempts at solutions to the problems. The challenges that many children in Africa confront are daunting. There is widespread sexual violence and sexual coercion of children, and there is currently inadequate infrastructure in health care and nutrition, education, and social structure to deal with the problems effectively. The issue of sexual violence and coercion is presented as particularly troubling, with reports of even nongovernmental organization aid workers and schoolteachers preying on children. The book includes a few personal stories of children, all heartbreaking, but also at times uplifting. One young man in South Africa, Nkosi Johnson, who was born HIV-positive, lost his mother to AIDS when he was very young. His foster mother, Gail Johnson, was inspired by Nkosi to open care centers for HIV/AIDS mothers and children. Nkosi himself lectured to spread the word about the project. One Nkosi's Haven was opened before Nkosi died in 2001. Another was opened shortly thereafter. The 30 contributors to the book-sociologists, public health specialists, NGO administrators-are all either from Africa or have strong ties to the continent, so the information presented is from a valuable firsthand perspective.