This AIDS Review, Nostalgia (by Relebohile Moletsani), is concerned with precisely those representations with which we are confronted in our work in HIV and AIDS, in development studies, in the reports of donors and of those who have undertaken research, and by people who have responded to being the subjects of research. This Review is about nostalgia, but it is also about representations.
Who is represented, and how, and by whom, and to what end? How do those who are represented respond? Do they accept these images, and how do they respond? This Review is also about representations and silences.
This Review confronts the uneasy relationship between the North and the South, between those who conceive of our problems, who find the funds to conduct research on and explain us, and who write us up, and those whose lives and experiences are expropriated in this way. How do we find the language for the cultural and imagined past, the power of tradition and memory, and the ways in which belief and belonging shaped who we are today, without the legitimacy of this being called into question or studied? How do we write about and protect indigenous knowledge, beliefs in the mysterious powers of ancestors and witchcraft, and merge this with a new and vibrant society?