In class this week we watched the movie Yesterday. The film centered around a young mother named Yesterday who lives in a town called Rooihoek. She is diagnosed with HIV which she contracted from her husband who got it while working in the mines in Johannesburg. Yesterday is very private with her diagnosis, but when she tells her husband and asks him to get tested he was very upset and in denial until he got very sick.
Yesterday’s husband’s initial reaction was very shocking, he began beating her. What was even more shocking to me was that a coworker of his was watching and shrugged it off. Something like that should not be tolerated by anyone, it is just so upsetting that anyone would sit by and watch.
There were many other upsetting concepts in the movie. One that really got to me was the numerous women waiting outside the clinic day after day to see the doctor. Women’s health is a big problem in South Africa, let alone Africa in general( as I wrote about in my last blog post on my readings in Half the Sky).
Labor and delivery and maternal health are not the only women’s health issue present, there is such a high rate of HIV and AIDS. People are not educated enough on practicing safe sex and understanding of transmission.
In the film, the other women in the village shun Yesterday and her husband because they are afraid of getting the disease by touch or air and wanted her to bring him out of the village to be taken care of. HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids including blood (including menstrual), vaginal secretions, semen, and even breast milk, but not including saliva, sweat, tears, urine, or feces. AIDS can be acquired only once someone is HIV positive.
Yesterday told the doctor that her father gave her her name because he said,
“Things were better yesterday than today.”
For Yesterday though, she seems to be more optimistic despite her diagnosis. She kept a very stoic attitude and was determined to survive to at least see her daughter Beauty go to her first day of school.
I think in the future things today could be better than yesterday in that there could be more hope for those infected with HIV/AIDS. Hopefully there may not even be many infected at all. Despite the circumstances Yesterday faces with her life she makes today just as good or better than yesterday.