Thursday, July 29

AIDS in Durban

Is Micheal Wines of the New York Times the biggest ambulance chaser south of the equator? I’m certainly starting to think so.

I commented on Mr Wines previous article on AIDS in Lesotho, where we learned that all the woman of Lesotho will die in a few years time leaving the men to starve, as is their just deserts. As little as that article impressed me, Mr Wines has been able to excel himself with his new 'article'.

Mr Wines is continuing his investigation on the shocking AIDS epidemic that is sweeping southern Africa.

Every time southern Africa's AIDS epidemic threatens to exhaust its store of superlatives, some new, sobering extreme rises to the fore. The latest is Durban, where 51 of the 53 municipal cemeteries are officially filled to capacity, and a surging death rate threatens to overwhelm the remaining two within a couple of years

This is indeed mind-boggling. What on earth can the poor Africans do to help themselves? O, wait, Mr Wines kindly answers that question for us:

Durban could also build new cemeteries, and, indeed, the city is negotiating to buy a 100-acre site to do just that. But it costs at least $1.25 million to build a graveyard, and more to maintain it in perpetuity, money the city does not have. And those 100 acres will last only three and a half years.

So, the government can build new cemeteries, and they plan to do so. This is news? He came to Africa for this? Ahh, but Africans are poor. They cant afford to build even a cemetery. In a pigs eye. Durban has a budget of more than 10 Billion rand. Durban can build a new cemetery for 8 million rand ($1.25 million) every week without spending even a twentieth of their budget.

Where does that leave Mr Wines story? He reports two more facts that are interesting. The first is that Zulus don’t believe in cremation. The fact that this, apart from AIDS, might contribute to the fact that cemeteries fill up rapidly is not mentioned. The fact that most cemeteries filled up long before the current AIDS epidemic is somehow also not mentioned.

The second fact that Mr Wines somehow lets slip is that people 'recycle' graves not because there is no more space, but because it is cheaper to do so. Graves are recycled because people are poor, not because the AIDS epidemic has overwhelmed the government.

So, of the three ‘facts’ in his article one is factually wrong and the other two completely misrepresented.

AIDS is a terrible plague. Mr Wines has a responsibility to factually report what is going on. However, for some reason Mr Wines has felt that twisting the facts would better serve his story.

Ambulance chaser.


Post a Comment

<< Home