Predicting the social consequences of orphanhood in South Africa

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2003

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University of Cape Town

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This paper examines and questions the predictions found in the academic and policy literature of social breakdown in Southern Africa in the wake of anticipated high rates of orphanhood caused by the AIDS epidemic. Analysis of the logic underlying these predictions reveals four causal relationships necessary to fulfil such dramatic and apocalyptic predictions: 1. High AIDS mortality rates will produce high numbers of orphans. 2. These orphans will become children who do not live in appropriate social environments to equip them for adult citizenship. 3. Poor socialization will mean that children orphaned by AIDS will not live within society's moral codes (becoming, for example, street children or juvenile delinquents). 4. Large numbers of such 'asocial' children will precipitate a breakdown in the social fabric.
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