News articles

African grandmothers rally for support in battle against HIV

July 22, 2016

André Picard, The Globe and Mail

At 78 years old, Phendukine Sithole says she’s “too old to be a mom again.” She had eight children of her own, then grandchildren.

Global AIDS conference exposes South Africa's dramatic turn

July 17, 2016

Cara Anna, The Washington Post

The first time the world came to South Africa for a conference on AIDS, the country's leader shocked attendees by questioning whether HIV really caused the disease.

Grannies march to Durban Aids conference

July 16, 2016

African News Agency , The Citizen

Gogos to march for AIDS awareness

July 06, 2016

Lloyd Mackenzie, Highway Mail

More than 1500 gogos will march through Durban on Saturday, (16 July) to highlight their rights and concerns on the eve of the 2016 International AIDS Conference.
The gogos from the Valley of 1000 Hills will join grandmothers from across Durban to raise awareness of the challenges they face and the need for better recognition and support. Gogos are frequently the sole breadwinners for their families and shoulder the responsibility of caring for their grandchildren, many of whom have been impacted by HIV/AIDS.
One of the Gogos marching on Saturday is 68-year-old Nokuthula Vezi (name changed) from Molweni. She has a passion for raising awareness about preventing HIV infection, having lost five of her ten children to HIV/AIDS, and seven of her grandchildren. She has to rely on her small pension and selling second-hand clothes to support her remaining 13 grandchildren and a daughter. “Once I knew that my children had died one by one from AIDS, I did all I could to tell people to learn their status. I still raise awareness and tell people to get tested and take their medication, and I go with them to the clinic,” said Nokuthula. “I am very happy about our march because we need to tell people about the problems in our communities, and let them know how much we do to help.”
Nokuthula will wake up and walk 2km in the dark to catch the bus to Durban’s Garden Court, where the march will start at 8am. But this doesn’t deter her. “I have already got my whistle ready and am very excited. I will be jumping and skipping when I march through Durban with the other Gogos. It is something very special.”
Organising the march is just one of the logistical challenges facing HACT and its partners. Eleven buses will transport the gogos to Durban from eight different communities to ensure the gogos arrive at the start on time. After the march, the gogos will present a statement to government at a special formal ceremony at Durban’s International Convention Centre in the presence of the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, and other high profile guests.
Going to the march will be gogos who played in the recent Gogolympics. Playing sports once a week is one way the women stay fit and healthy and a great way to have fun despite their hardships. Gogos from HACT’s dressmaking school will also be marching. More than 60 grandmothers attend the school in KwaNyuswa each year and they are taught to make cushions, blankets, dresses and school uniforms – skills to help them generate a small income.
“We work alongside more than 2 000 Gogos across the Valley of 1000 Hills. We visit them at home and encourage them to look after their health and join support groups which take part in income generating activities,” said Cwengi Myeni, the Granny Support Group manager at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. “We want to bring the rights and achievements of these selfless ladies to the attention of our leaders and the world. They are the backbone of our communities but this isn’t often recognised.”
Read the original article here


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