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South Africa's Transition in a Globalizing World: HIV/AIDS as a Window and a Mirror

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South Africa's peaceful transition is evolving during a period in which spectacular twentieth-century achievements have greatly improved life for one-fifth of the world's population. These are being gradually eclipsed, however, by the impact of social and economic forces that relegate four-fifths of the world's population to increasingly insecure, miserable and impoverished lives. South Africa's negotiated revolution, which has allowed it to move from the pariah status of apartheid to that of a fledgling democracy, exemplifies the paradigm shift required for global progress towards a more just and peaceful world. The HIV/AIDS pandemic, a major threat to South Africa, the African continent and many others around the world, is used in this article as a window through which to view the prospects for the long-term social success of South Africa's transition. It is also used as a mirror to reflect the world in which such a disease could emerge and spread pervasively. The explanatory links between exploitative global economic forces and the emergence of threats to lives are considered, in order to illuminate new pathways towards global progress in which respect for human rights will be further consolidated through promotion of solidarity, interdependence and social justice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Cape Town, and Visiting Professor in Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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