At the height of the African AIDS crisis older women mobilized across two continents and an ocean of difference to change the lives of innumerable African women confronting insecurity, violence, grief, and illness. In 2006 the Stephen Lewis Foundation launched its Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, seeking to organize Canadians in solidarity with "Africa's grandmothers" - older caregivers who had lost their children to AIDS and were left to raise their grandchildren. Four years later, some 10,000 Canadians had joined the campaign. May Chazan's The Grandmothers' Movement explores the encounters, ideas, and circumstances that shaped this remarkable story of solidarity and struggle. Based on interviews, family trees, personal journals, and archival materials, Chazan provides the first analysis of the movement. Through personal reflections and powerful vignettes from nearly a decade of participation in grandmothers' lives in South Africa and Canada, she presents untold narratives and brings new humanity to the AIDS crisis in Africa. The Grandmothers' Movement tells a story of hope while challenging conventional understandings of the global AIDS response, solidarity, and old age. It is about the power of older women to alter their own lives through collective action and about the influence of transnational cooperation to effect positive global change.
May Chazan is Canada Research Chair in Gender and Feminist Studies at Trent University and is a research associate with the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
“Chazan delivers a nuanced analysis of local politics in a globalized setting. She effectively pulls together connections among women and community as she fills the pages with stories of grief, endurance, resistance, and achievement – in short, what it is to live within the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Pamela Moss, University of Victoria
“A very important contribution to literature on feminism, international development, and South Africa.” Allison Goebel, Queen’s University