World AIDS Day, celebrated on December 1st, serves as a reminder of the global struggle against HIV and AIDS. In South Africa, where an estimated 7.52 million people were living with HIV in 2018, the fight against the disease is more crucial than ever.
The battle involves raising awareness, providing support, and challenging stereotypes surrounding HIV. In this article, we’ll introduce you to three notable South African celebrities who have openly shared their experiences of living with HIV, dedicating their lives to the cause.
Criselda Dudumashe: A Resilient Radio Personality
Criselda Dudumashe, a well-known radio personality, has not only been an advocate for HIV/AIDS but also a living example of resilience. She has been living with the virus for two decades. In her book, ‘You Are Never Alone: God’s Favorite Daughter,’ Criselda courageously opened up about her journey with the disease.
As an HIV/AIDS ambassador, she travels across the nation, sharing her story and insights on living with this deadly illness. In 2017, she shared her remarkable journey on Instagram, defying the initial prognosis that gave her only two years to live. Her unwavering spirit is an inspiration to many.
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Abdurrazack ‘Zackie’ Achmat: Turning Adversity into Activism
Abdurrazack ‘Zackie’ Achmat, a renowned South African film director, received his HIV diagnosis in 1990, along with a grim prediction of three months to live. However, he refused to succumb to despair. Instead, Zackie became a passionate activist, co-founding the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an organization dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
Through the powerful slogan ‘HIV Positive,’ he has worked diligently to combat the stigma surrounding the virus. Zackie’s journey from a life-threatening diagnosis to becoming a prominent activist is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.
Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko: Triumph Over Illness
Gospel sensation Musa Njoko has lived with HIV for over two decades. She defied the odds when she was given just three months to live due to her condition. In a recent tweet, she celebrated her journey, highlighting her son’s growth from a two-year-old to an international star. Musa’s experience exemplifies the potential for hope and resilience in the face of HIV.
South Africa’s Beloved Actress Sindi Dlathu: A Glimpse into Her Life
Sindi Dlathu, renowned for her captivating performances, was born on January 4, 1974, in Meadowlands, South Africa. She has won the hearts of many with her acting skills, especially during her time on the SABC 2 soapie “Muvhango,” where she portrayed Nomthandazo “Thandaza” Buthelezi. Her dedication to the role kept her on the show for over a decade, earning her immense popularity.
Sindi Dlathu maintains a remarkably private life, rarely divulging details about her family. She is married to Okielant Nkosi and has two children, but she prefers to keep them out of the media spotlight. Despite this secrecy, it’s known that she has an older twin sister named Zanele Sangweni, who is married to a local businessman in Soweto.
There have been rumors about Sindi’s HIV status, stemming from her role as an HIV-positive patient in the show “Soul City.” However, in reality, she is HIV negative. Sindi’s acting career dates back to when she was just twelve years old, and her portrayal of Thandaza on “Muvhango” catapulted her to stardom.
In recent years, Sindi Dlathu’s career has continued to flourish. She has taken on the role of Lindiwe Dikana in “The River,” where she plays a cunning diamond mining magnate. Sindi’s compelling performances in the series have left a lasting impression on audiences, and her character’s ruthless determination has added a new layer to her acting portfolio.
Sindi Dlathu remains a timeless figure in South African entertainment, and her ability to captivate audiences both on and off-screen has solidified her status as one of the country’s best-loved actresses.
These South African celebrities, each living with HIV for over a decade, prove that with a positive attitude and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, HIV doesn’t have to define the end of a fulfilling life. Their stories serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all those affected by HIV and contribute to the ongoing fight against the disease.
SABC1’s Rise presenter, Phindile Sithole-Spong found out at 19 that she had full blown AIDS after suddenly falling ill. Manoeuvring through young adulthood at university was tricky she admits. “On my 22nd birthday, while driving home from dinner, my then boyfriend suddenly flipped and called me a murderer who was going to infect and kill him with my HIV. He kicked me out of the car and left me in the middle of nowhere,” she says.
Now engaged to the love of her life, the 27 year old says the biggest scare about living with HIV is wondering how your body will handle growing old with HIV. “Chances of having cervical cancer are 50% more for HIV-positive women. I panic each time I get sick.” Despite that and a history of being sexually molested by her uncle in her childhood, Phindile maintains a positive attitude and plans on having children of her own in the future.
The singer, revealed to Drum magazine recently that his current album, Naninina has helped him heal from his tumulous past of drugs and losing his parents. He revealed to the magazine that when his mother passed he was often ashamed to divulge that she had indeed died of HIV.
He says: “At some point I used to lie to people and say my mother died of cancer because I was afraid to say my mother had HIV,” he told the local publication. “I was too scared to say I once took drugs to numb pain.”
The former Rhythm City actress revealed her mother died from the condition in 2005 while awaiting ARVs the health department had run out of at the time.
Sheen revealed last year he was HIV positive and had paid an amount totalling to millions of dollars to prevent the news from being leaked as he had been diagnosed four years prior to revealing his status. Speaking to NBC, the actor said one woman whom he had paid for sex had taken a photo of his HIV medication in his bathroom and said she would leak it to the press if he didn’t pay up.
Johnson is one of the first celebrities to disclose his HIV status to the world in 1991 after being diagnosed at 32. At 57 he’s been an example that it’s possible through correct medication to maintain a long-lasting healthy life with the disease.
The late 3Sum singer who passed away earlier this year at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town after lost his battle to cancer. In 2011 Koyo had disclosed his HIV-positive status to the country.
Popular for playing Lettie Matabane on Isidingo, the actress disclosed her HIV status on Kaya FM on World Aids Day in 2011. Sadly the star passed away in 2014.
Fana “DJ Khabzela” Khaba
In 2003 then, YFM DJ, Khabzela disclosed his HIV-positive status publicly on the station. A month before he died in 2004, he was given the National Builder’s Award in recognition of his contribution to the fight against HIV/Aids.
Tebogo Ndlovu popularly known as Abashante member, Zombo passed away in 2008 soon after revealing his HIV status on SABC1’s Live.