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Monday, 16 May 2011

Candlelight Memorial to remember and support those living with HIV/AIDS

CPUT’s HIV/AIDS Unit joined thousands across the globe on Monday, 16th May 2011 to remember those who have died of AIDS and support those who are living with the disease.  On the 28th anniversary of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, Acting Head of the unit, Alex Semba says, “It was an honour to have such a great show of support from the CPUT community and the learners that we invited to be a part of the memorial in showing compassion and concern for people living with HIV/AIDS.”

“We heard remarks from Derrick Fine, founder of the Openly Positive Trust, Neliswa Nkwali of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Central SRC Secretary Siyabonga Ngozi, and our own Health Promotor Marius Harmsen. We were treated to beautiful songs by the CPUT Choir and their soloist. The event was also a chance for the audience to learn about the HIV/AIDS support services offered on campus,” says Semba.
Openly Positive displayed their newly launched book in which Harmsen’s story, ‘Too lazy to die’ is featured, as part of a collection of short stories titled Whisper Not - 15 Africans speak out on life and love beyond HIV. Another author, professional nurse and mother of four Ann Ray Ray also delivered a powerful personal testimony of living positively.

The book celebrates the lives of ordinary men and women from across Africa, relating their experiences of living with HIV. They say by no longer speaking in whispers about HIV and AIDS, one can live a healthy, full and positive life.

“Even if one couldn't attend the event yesterday, one can still be commemorate the memorial by lighting a candle in your private space in remembrance of those who have died, and in support of those who are living with HIV/AIDS”, says Semba.

More information about the Openly Positive book collection can be obtained from the HIV/AIDS Unit, located on the 2nd Floor, Cape Town campus Admin Building on Tel: 021 460 4253.

By: Thando J. Moiloa

Written by CPUT News