Case Study: Memory Work with Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Philippe Denis

in The Oxford Handbook of Oral History

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195339550
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Case Study: Memory Work with Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa


This article focuses on working with children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Arica. In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, relief organizations focused their efforts on the material needs of children, but their psychological and emotional needs are no less important. Recognizing this, the Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa, a research and community development center located at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Pietermaritzburg South Africa, has pioneered a model of psychosocial intervention for children in grief—particularly but not exclusively in the context of HIV/AIDS. This model uses the methodology of oral history in a novel manner, combined with other techniques such as life story work and narrative therapy. During the early years of the project, the model followed for the family visits was the oral history interview. A discussion on caregiver as the narrator and skills required in memory work especially in these cases concludes this article.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; epidemic; psychological intervention; community development; methodology; memory work

Article.  3099 words. 

Subjects: History ; African History

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