In This Review

Children of AIDS: Africa's Orphan Crisis
Children of AIDS: Africa's Orphan Crisis
By Emma Guest
Pluto Press, 2001, 189 pp.

Any calculation of the odds on Africa's successful future development must factor in the subject of this book. The author, a perceptive analyst of the ongoing aids tragedy, presents case studies of organized responses in three countries hit hard by the epidemic: Uganda, Zambia, and South Africa. By exploring the social reality behind the numbing statistics, she makes possible more informed speculation about the economic, social, and psychological impact of the disease in coming decades. With a few exceptions such as Uganda and Senegal, most African governments continue to be more a part of the problem than the solution. Meanwhile, nongovernmental organizations are moving from an exclusive focus on aids prevention and treatment to programs aimed at rescuing orphans from lives of dysfunction and despair. Indeed, an impressive variety of coping strategies are ameliorating the orphan crisis, from foster parenting to community and institutional projects in both rural and urban settings. A particularly valuable chapter looks at the role of unicef in Zambia.