Dr William Muchono and Dr Gabriel Darong were thrilled to graduate with their PhDs in anthropology recently. Their research was supervised by Professor Maheshvari Naidu, with Darong being co-supervised by Professor Mosa Moshebela (Dean of School of Nursing).

Dr William Muchono, Supervisor Professor Maheshvari Naidu and Dr Gabriel Darong (Photo by: Rajesh Jantilal)

Muchono’s study probes how the cultural practice of chinamwali among the Shangaan people is used to construct ‘womanhood’. He said that he owes this success to God and thanked the people of Mahenye community, his supervisor, Chief Mahenye, his research assistant, Lingiwe, and his family.

Professor Maheshvari Naidu and I walked together through this journey of my PhD studies since 2015 and I found her to be a conscientious and courteous supervisor who assisted and motivated me in my studies. The journey was tough but she was there for me always,” he said.

Darong’s study explores the experiences of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in their practice of medical pluralism, most especially how they navigate the plural systems and treatments utilised.

“HIV/Aids is currently only treatable bio-medically. PLHIV are expected to strictly adhere to active antiretroviral treatment (ART) prescribed by biomedical health practitioners in order to ‘progress’ on the cascade of care. Poor progression on the cascade of care, however, was shown to exist among PLHIV. The use of multiple health systems – biomedicine, traditional healing and religious healing, known as medical pluralism, was said to be a contributing factor in the poor adherence to HIV testing and treatment,” said Darong.