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By Sabelo Sikhakhane

Blessed with the looks of a top model, this stunning young lady attended the memorial service of a person died of AIDS related infections earlier this year, where she spoke strongly to all the mourners, especially community leaders and church elders about HIV/AIDS. But when she declared that she is also HIV-Positive no one could belive what she said, for she had that positive outlook and outgoing personality.

I then met the cool as a cucumber Busi Mkhwanazi from the South African Gauteng based township called Kwa-Thema at the National Association of People living With HIV/AIDS(NAPWA-SA) National Offices in Germiston, Johannesburg following an appointment for an interview. As we drove her back home after her day's work, she opened up even more.

What is most sad and touching is that Busi (21 years old), but could not celebrate her 21st birthday anniversary like most other girls of her age.
"I was sexually abused by my uncle from the age of six and he further treatened to kill me if I ever told anyone. This continued until I was nine when my grandmother finally found out. After the ordeal I had gone through, I was taken to a clinic check-up, where the health workers suggested that I should also go for an HIV test. The results later confirmed that I was HIV-positive."

At that time, Busi did not understand what HIV/AIDS was, because she was still young. It is only recently that she fully understands what was happening to her young life. All this because of the uncle she trusted and loved. To rub salt into the wound, when the case was opened at Kwa-Thema Police Station known as Habedi, there had been no follow-up and no one got arrested till today.

"I was fourteen years when I began to understand what was happening to me and I used to spend sleepless nights because I knew I was going to die. After joining the National Association of People living With HIV/AIDS(NAPWA) and started disclosing my HIV status last year (2001) I felt better and stronger."

Busi is still a student at Tlakula High School, but already has lost most of her friends, some of whom would not want to share the desk with her. The only true friends she now has are those she met at the NAPWA Support Group at Kwa-Thema and the province of Gauteng, South Africa.

"My grandmother has been a pillar of strength that has encouraged me a lot. Also, my boyfriend has played a big role in releaving some of the stress and tension broaght about by the stigma attached to HIV. He is the other important person in my life that has never stopped loving me since we first met. He keeps on encouraging me through thick and thin. My eighbourhood has showed a lot of support as well. I am grateful to all the people that have never discriminated against me as before." "Although I feel healthy, when I do not, as a NAPWA members there is Dr. Clarence M. Mini in Germiston who is running his surgery and a NAPWA clinic that provides medical services to HIV positive people whao are unemployed, after being counselled at NAPWA National Office by the Counselling Coordinator. For next, my wish is to go back to school and register with Tlamoha College so that I can fulfil my dream of becoming an accountant."

Busi would like to appeal to all those who are HIV positive to disclose their status and get in touch with the National Association of People living With HIV/AIDS(NAPWA) to get counselling and coping skills for positive living. "It is foolish to think of spreading the disease as revenge or wanting not to die alone. To those who are still HIV-negative I would like to say: "Do not discriminate against those who are HIV-positive, love them, care for them and give them all the support they need.

To join the nearest NAPWA Support Group you can contact this number
011 872 0975 or visit us at NAPWA HOUSE in the Corner of Knox and
Simpson Street in Germiston, South Africa.



A posting from AF-AIDS (af-aids@healthdev.net)
Posted on the site July, 2002.
 
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