Understanding stigma

The film Life, Above All based on a book called Chanda's Secret, will help you to understand what is meant by stigma. Life, Above All tells the story of a young girl who has to try to live a normal life amidst insecurity and instability. HIV is spreading in Chanda's South African township yet no one will talk about it. When her mother's illness becomes apparent, the community turns against Chanda's family.

Watch these clips from Life, Above All and then discuss how the stigma of HIV is represented. As these clips are subtitled we recommend you view them full screen.

  • Why do you think HIV is not mentioned directly in the trailer?
  • What impression does the trailer give of Chanda and her mother?
  • What do the clips suggest about some of the characters’ attitudes to HIV? How would you challenge these points of view if you heard someone say or do something similar?
  • To what extent do you think this film seems relevant to a UK audience? Explain your answer.

Now watch the trailer and view the gallery from another recent film We Were Here. This is a very different film about HIV. In what ways do you think this film might help to challenge the stigma surrounding HIV?