Bullet in the Pawpaw, The
A woman's daring attempt to prevent the spread of HIV in South Africa, through theatre.
Kim, a naïve, poorly educated English girl, is enjoying the delights of London in the ‘Swinging Sixties’ when a chance encounter takes her on a journey to South Africa. Travelling as an actor with a touring Shakespeare company, Kim is irrevocably drawn to the ‘beloved country’, but her abhorrence of the oppressive system of apartheid forces her to return home.
This experience changes the direction of her life, and now, having achieved a longed-for education, she is on a mission: to stop the spread of HIV. She creates the Themba HIV&AIDS Organisation in Johannesburg and recruits and trains young people from the townships to deliver a unique programme of interactive theatre workshops.
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The Bullet in the Pawpaw is a compelling page-turner that traces Kim Hope’s groundbreaking years as a theatre professional in South Africa. But this is no star-struck memoir. It begins in the years of apartheid and follows the author's growing belief in the power of drama to change lives, her struggle against the odds to found the brilliantly innovative Themba project, and her realisation, during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, that her skills as a director could help break the silence surrounding that terrible disease. Beautifully and atmospherically written, her book shines with optimism, courage and an irrepressible sense of adventure. As it drew to a close I found myself so moved that I went straight back to the beginning and read it again. ~ Geoffrey Durham, Quaker, and author of The Spirit of the Quakers
In this enchanting and important book Kim Hope takes us with her through her years in South Africa involving young people in theatre projects helping to overcome the stain and pain left by apartheid. And confronting and dealing with violence, abuse and HIV & AIDS. ~ Angela Neustatta, Journalist and author of The Year I Turn: A Quirky A-Z of Ageing
Congratulations to Kim on her vivid and moving account of how she went about the onerous task of setting up and running the innovative Themba (“Hope”) project. At a time when people were beginning to be open to testing for HIV but were overwhelmed by the implications, she and her colleagues helped many to comprehend the enormity of the Aids pandemic. I hope this book will affirm the work she and Themba did, recognise those who were given the courage to be tested, and constitute a tribute to those who did not survive the scourge. ~ The Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, and author of Faith and Courage, Praying with Mandela
The Bullet in The Pawpaw by Kim Hope is a story of hope (ithemba) and triumph at a time in South Africa when denial and ignorance around HIV and Aids was killing people and threatening to rip the nation apart. The Themba HIV and Aids Project, built on Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and Forum theatre is a story of courage, resilience, empowerment and love. It is the story of individual and collective action at a time of crisis. Kim Hope took up the challenge and transformed her love for theatre into something that gave young South Africans hope and the power to overcome ignorance and fear. As she puts it: “It began to look as if we had created something which was not only unique, but also valuable.” I highly recommend this book. ~ Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Quaker and Deputy Health Minister of South Africa (2004 – 2007)
This frank and compassionate account of the apartheid years and the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa brings back many memories for me. It is a most valuable record of a project that without question has been of immense value to so many people. Kim Hope writes directly and frankly and in so doing demonstrates how individuals with dedication and purpose utilised their own skills to help create a better quality of life for all regardless of creed or colour. This is not only a compelling story it is also a valuable historical record. ~ Terry Waite CBE, Anglican and a Quaker and author of several books including Out of the Silence