Over the decades, there have been several SA public figures who have not only come out into public, but also managed to live a long life despite the life-threatening disease. In conclusion, being diagnosed with HIV doesn’t mean that it’s te end of the world. The following celebrities have proven so by being an inspiration choosing to use their fame to discuss their HIV status and to advocate for compassion and awareness around HIV, hoping to help others to do the same. Here are 5 of them.
In a 2011 interview with DRUM magazine, Bala spoke openly about living with HIV. He said he had received the diagnosis in 2010 and had made a commitment to help others in the same situation. He however died of cancer in 2015.
“I am HIV-positive, and as a celebrity and someone who is openly gay, it is important to come out. I want to use my bubbly personality to help those struggling to come to terms with their status and instil a sense of hope.”
Radio DJ Criselda Kananda, was diagnosed HIV positive more than 13 years ago, when she was seven months pregnant. Today she is a mother of 3, motivational speaker, professional counsellor, former nurse, medical underwriter and serves on the board of the South African National AIDS Council.
Lesego Motsepe who for 10 years played Lettie Matabane in Isidingo, disclosed her status on World AIDS Day in 2011. She said “Our society had made this virus a monster and all it is, is a virus. I’m doing it for the voiceless people out there who just found out today, and know that I’ve got their back.” Sadly Motsepe stopped using life-saving ARVs in 2012. She died in 2014.
Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko
Gospel artist Musa ‘Queen’ Njoko publicly disclosed her HIV-positive status in 1995. She was 22 when she was diagnosed, at a time when treatment was not available in South Africa. She faced a lot of stigma and hostility but also found support.
Former footballer, Thabang Sefatsa made headlines when he confessed to being HIV positive, and he revealed the reason why more players don’t speak out.