This past spring, we published a powerful and important new book on the AIDS crisis in Botswana. Co-written by Unity Dow, a novelist and the first woman Justice to serve on Botswana’s High Court, and Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative, Saturday Is for Funerals uniquely presents the heartbreaking personal stories of lives ravaged by the disease. But the book also describes the dramatic progress that Botswana has made in fighting the epidemic. Indeed, in the year 2000 the World Health Organization estimated that 85 percent of fifteen-year-olds in Botswana would eventually die of AIDS. Now, ten years later, Dow and Essex explain why that won’t happen.
In the following video, produced by the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative, Max Essex describes the book’s genesis. “I was looking for a book that explores both the science and the personal stories behind the AIDS epidemic in Africa,” he says. “That book didn’t exist. So I decided to fill that void.”