In 2004 I joined a student volunteer group. I was a graduate student in Johannesburg, and our volunteer group taught at an unregistered school in an informal settlement in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, once a week. The school had no full-time teachers because it was not recognized by the government. In December we put together food parcels to distribute to people living with HIV in the area. Our visits were difficult. Many of the patients had full-blown AIDS. I remember one woman had a five-year-old son—a stylish little gent who cheerfully chatted with us and asked us to photograph him in different poses. His mother had little time left. She told us she had been on antiretroviral medication dispensed by the clinic at no charge but had stopped taking them because they made her sicker. She did not have consistent access to food. Sitting in her home, I kept thinking...
Narrative, Time, and Disaster
grace a. musila teaches African literature at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is editor of Routledge Handbook of African Popular Culture (2022) and Wangari Maathai's Registers of Freedom (2020), author of A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder (2015), and coeditor (with Michael Titlestad and Karl van Wyk) of The Plague Years: Reflecting on Pandemics (2022). She also coedited Rethinking Eastern African Intellectual Landscapes (2012) with James Ogude and Dina Ligaga.
Grace A. Musila; Narrative, Time, and Disaster. Novel 1 August 2023; 56 (2): 327–331. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-10562980
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