Unity Dow’s Novel Far and Beyond: Insights into the HIV Epidemic in Africa


Far and Beyond is a Novel written by Unity Dow, a female African writer and the first female High Court judge in Botswana. Her book deals with the terrible plight of Aids/HIV in Africa, particularly in the region of Botswana. Unity Dow brings the issue up front to all who are concerned about the spread of the aids virus and the effects this virus has on one’s family and community, even one’s nation. The story of the novel is told through the eyes of three characters: Mara, Mosa, and Stan. It is the story of a family’s struggle to move forward in soul trying situations.

Moving Forward

Even in the most devastating situations dealing with HIV, Unity Dow proves that an individual can move forward and far and beyond if he or she is willing to try. Through the eyes of Mosa, the daughter of Mara and one of the most powerful female characters in black literature, Unity Dow proves that willingness to unite, the willingness to challenge, and the willingness to strive is a powerful weapon against any disease.

The ability to unite is a great weapon against any problem, mainly because problems bring conflict and confusions and separation. Mosa had this ability. After the death of her two brothers: Thabo and Pule, Mosa was determined to unite the family. The problem of aids had separated the family physically and emotionally.

The death of her two sons’, one after the other, confused Mara who was Mosa’s Mother. Mara had become highly supposititious and believed that people were out to bring evil upon the family. Therefore, she sought protection through diviners. But her daughter Mosa knew that wasn’t the way to go.


The Ability to Challenge

A good education was the way to go. This is exactly why Mosa made plans on returning to school. Not only would this benefit her, but it would benefit her family, for whose well-being she felt responsible. She knew she had to be the strongest out of the family. “ She promised herself that she was going to live her life to the full if that was still within her power; to reach out to her mother, brother, and niece, so that they would survive as a family”(Dow p27).

Mosa knew that a strong family was the key to surviving the death of loved ones and all other kinds of misfortunes. A strong family brings comfort and strength through togetherness.
The willingness to challenge is another great weapon against struggle and hardship. When situations, conditions, and people are pressuring us, the ability to challenge becomes a choice between getting overwhelmed and thrown to the side or breaking forward into personal victory.

Mosa knew the value of challenge. She challenges several people. “Africa does not need to hide from the Mr. Mitch’s of this world just because they would not approve” (Dow p115). In this phase, Mosa directly challenges her brother Stan for not challenging Mr. Mitch regarding a test.

The Work for Reconciliation

Another confrontation was when Mosa Challenged Mr. Mitch in the classroom and made him ashamed (Dow p113). Time and time again, Mosa promoted the idea of a challenge, even in the legal situations dealing with Cecilia’s sickness and death when Mosa challenge a lawyer and was commended for her boldness (Dow p171). Challenge and boldness bring recognition, and if it does not move things forward, it will surely shake them up.
The willingness to strive against all odds is a gift to the person who has it. Mosa had it. She was determined not to let anything and anyone stop her from moving forward in life. Her determination is what kept unity within Mosa’s family. And this was the kind of determination that kept Mosa in pursuit of her education despite the advances of the school officials such as bones and Mr. Merake and the “Big Men”. “Mosa resolved that from now on she would work for reconciliation in the family as long as her destination-far and beyond were not compromised” (Dow p83).

 Beyond Tradition

The phrase “Far and Beyond” was very special to Mosa because she was a girl and traditionally, a woman wasn’t to think like that. But she remembered the strong words of an uncle who believed in her and her ability and an uncle who did not think traditionally. “A precious uncle who believed even a girl could go “far and beyond (Dow p199).
In conclusion, we can see that the values of unity, challenge, and determination can make great strides forward in devastating situations and conditions in the world. To bring forth hope almost everything has to be challenged and not merely accepted as “ that’s just the way it is.” Mosa , a strong character should be a part of every family in tragic situations, to promote unity and therefore hope.