Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ncome Prison Visit

The journey began 6am, after droping off my son at school. I felt so bad for leaving him, but I was relieved that he was within the school premises and the security guards were already there. A few parents were already driving in to get a morning work out at the gym. 

It had been a challange choosing the right route to Ncome. I finally took the advise of the last person I spoke to who said, 'take the Babanango route, it's the shortest'. I did. I had to be there at least by 9:30. The function was to start at 10:00. I already had four people call me to say they are excited I'm coming. I could not be late. After all, I was representing the Office of the Premier. 

I'm familiar with the Melmoth route, since I frequent it when going home. Since I was worried about time, I could not stop over and see Mama. I simply waved with my heart. I took the Babanango route. I must have drove for 5 minutes, when I was stopped. Stop-and-Go. I nearly died. I had an hour and half left.

I must have had 3 of these stops. I knew in my gut I would be late. I felt bad 'cause many people had given me different routes option but I chose the last one. I received a night before. I was angry at myself. Which impacted my speed. I started driving like a taxi driver. I didn't mind. I thought it's cool. If something happens, at least I am alone in the car. 

My favourite part of the route was past Babanango town. The flat area leading to Nquthu. I could speed. Luckily traffic cops stopped me when I was going a bit slow. Saw my license. I handed him some free condom. We parted with smiles. When I got into a small town I was relieved that the main road cuts through the town. I didn't have to get lost. I stopped at the Engen garage to confirm I was on the right route. A young petrol attendant pointed me at the direction as if I'd drive for 1 km and be there. Not. A taxi driver I asked after driving for sometime, told me, 'you're gonna drive for some time'. I knew it was time. Call those who know I'm coming! I did. They met me on the main road intersection. 

The first talk was for inmates in Medium B. I told them, 'you're a dull crowd'. They were. A music group sang isicathamiya, no one clap, cheersed or sang along. They just stared. I gave my motivational talk. One of the disturbing question. An inmate was telling me he can cure AIDS with traditional herbs. It took a lot for me not to cut me to size. I hate people who are in denial when millions of people are dying. The only comment I said was that, AIDS cannot be cured. I stressed that I know many traditional medicine which work as immune boosters. I had to get out of there. One young man asked me, 'if I shake your hand, will I get it?'. I said, 'do it and find out'. He laughed and walked away. Something in me said, 'chill'. I was consoled by that, if I've touched one person's heart and mind, that's enough. I was ushered to the next group in another section of the prison. My favourite crowd. 

These inmates had all the swagger. Good looking brothers. Vocal. It was the first time I came across inmates same age as me. I told them, 'I could marry some of you'. That was a great ice breaker. It was a great discussion. Until the questions came. They were amazing.  Staff and inmates asked me questions. Challenging questions. We joked, argued all the time with respect. I loved them. A few gave me words od support and prayers. But the majority of inmates began disclosing their HIV status to each other. It turned out to be an educational session. Some didn't know they were support groups, health workers and nutrients found in diet. It was an each one teach one session. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. 

An old man came up and diclosed that he is HIV positive and he has changed his ways. He gave his own wise motivational talk. I smiled with pride, until he said, 'I've even stopped ukudlala (playing) with boys" I assume he meant having sex with young boys. I froze. It was like I got out of my own skin. I looked around. One younger inmate walked out. I thought about my son. I could hear nervous laughter and booing as if it was further away at a distance. At that minute. I knew one thing. There must be some good out of this. I hope one day I see it. 

Finally I got a going away gift. The group cheered when I hug the inmate who made it. i was amazed at the quality of the work. I gave them my address so they can write to me. I told them I've a feeling my husband is within them. 

As I was ushered out. I took radio dedications which would be read on radio next week. Chat to some as we walked out. I'll have to go back because the inmate who made a gift for me asked me for paint. I want to help, so that he can be motivated to work harder. The staff gave me two types of lunch. Yummy! So I didn't leave empty handed. I had food, motivation and a gift.

I enjoyed the drive back home. It didn't feel like a long drive anymore. But damn, I was so hungry. I wanted to save the food I got so I could with my son. I stopped at KFC in Melmoth, hoping to buy Pops. When the cashier shouted, 'Pops' and turned to me and said, '3 minutes'. I thought 'hell no'. I took chips and rushed out. I had to get back to the airport, drop off a hired car and take mine home. I felt bad again driving past my mum's place. I called to apologise, she was disappointed. I got to the airport at 6.30pm. 12 hours gone. Job done. 

Monday, October 17, 2011


I spent the morning in Pietermaritzburg prison on the 13th of October. I had a fabulous time.

Inmates performed educational isicathamiya songs and gospel songs. I gave a motivational speech on positive living and the importance of eradicating stigma. As much we were talking about the importance of understanding ukuthi wjat happens in hospices. I emphsized the importance of going to hospice at the right time. Each person living with HIV must take good care of themselves.

Inmates had a opportunity to give me dedications to their families.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Woman's Month

It feels great. But there is so much work to be done, for rural women to feel the same freedom. I feel there is a big part a person can play. I am eager to free HIV positive women to feel free to make right choices for their lives.

I am looking forward to packaging programmes for August. I would love to make programmes which are close to my heart. Helping married women negotiate a condom within a home. Old women to be safe from infection as they help their ill kids. And women who are infected to get into healthy relationship.

I am working hard to reach the dream, where my son can wake up to a world with no infection.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I'm contemplating doing a reality show. Yes. I've always loved reality show. From Survivor, The Apprentice and many recent ones. I think that is linked to my love for reading autobiographies to try and understand what makes people tick. Reality show are just that for me. I find them most interesting.

In July I will be going on a tour again of KZN doing motivational talks with the Office of the Premier. I had a fabulous time in February and many times I wished I could record it. This time I'm doing just that. I want to record it. Not me, but the people I come across. I want people to see where I go to. What views people share and to see the country.

I am thinking about it seriously. I will know for sure if it can be done in a week's time. I'm excited the possibility of doing it.

I will keep in touch and let you know.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I've been around KwaZulu Natal in 9 Districts and prisons. I've seen how people are still struggling with the shame, of being infected with HIV. Women living with HIV not brave enough to disclose to their husbands and partners about their status. They take ARVs but continue to have unprotected sex.

Young people doing Grade 12 with no dream to study further. Due to lack of information about funding opportunities. Young people who continue to have unplanned pregnancies. It is something unimaginable. To go to school with no dream to be anything else. Because there is no money to study further. But opportunities are there. Young people are just not aware.

But mostly, Poverty. People who are unable to take their medication because there is no food to eat.

With all these problems. I feel torn. I wanna help, but I am not sure where to start. How to make it sustainable? I don't have much, but with the little I have, I wanna make a difference. No matter how small.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


 It all began here. In Mkhambathini. In the middle of nowhere. I must have driven for two hours. Through forests, sugarcane plantations. Asking myself...where to? Until I came through a mountainous area. Humid, dusty but with life. People.

I had a discussion with the village women, girls and men about the HIV issues. I came to do a motivation but in turn I received education. Life in the city is another life a continent from people in the rural areas. I used to think it was bad in my village, until I came here. I guess the eye gets used to the common faces and one miss the pain and traumas of life in them. It is easy to say, 'Pick yourself up'. But I've began to ask how, when and the answers are within each and everyone residing in those mountainous villages.

One woman asked me to come to her home and speak to her husband, actually force him to get tested and wear a condom. This young Mama is HIV positive, on ARVs. The husband refuse to test, or to condomise. But forces her to have unprotected sex. She has experienced physical abuse because of her choices to protect herself and take ARVs. I was scared, I still I am. To go to a Zulu man's home, and discuss bedroom business. I feel I am not 'old' enough to handle those issues. My traditional background threatens me. Thank God 'unompilo' jumps in and directs her to some help. Her mother, uGOGO jumps in as well. She confesses that she has been taken to izinduna, Councillors since she has moved to another bedroom and refuses to sleep with her husband due to his refusal to wear protection. I was flabbergasted and proud. A old woman put through explaining to a group of men, why she has left the bedroom. She informed us that, she told the group of men to ask her husband why she has left the bedroom, cause he knows. Now imagine, having to explain to other men, not one, but a group why you have left your bedroom. Shocking. But I love her stamina and vigor. It has been three years. I am extremely proud. I asked the young Mama, you can  learn something from your mother. She looked at me with some hope. The old Gogo, stressed that she has told her to do the same, but she is scared, he will leave her with his six kids.

These stories are the same to the four districts I've been to. The other touching one was the health worker who highlighted the problem with people taking ARVs. They stop taking them because there is no food in the home. I immediately sighed out, thank God for my brown bead and milk at home. It may not seem much, but thinking that, there are people stressed out by living with HIV with no food in the stomach but supposed to take medication. I was touched.  I am gonna do something about that. I don't know what, but I am gonna do something about that. It can't go on.

I still have 6 visits to do this month. I know the stories will be the same every district but also different. One thing I can smile about is that, I love SA. I love Africa and I adore my village people. I am enjoying seeing the country side it's a dream come true. I believe God has send me to these places for a reason and I am not gonna take it lightly. I wanna give people home, life and let them find their purpose in this world.

Intando yakho mayenziwe.

Friday, January 28, 2011


It's on. The 1st panel discussion looking at the role of men in dealing with HIV/AIDS related issues. I am very excited about the opportunity to do these pabel discussions. I am so motivated. It feels like a right time, place and opportunity. I am also glad that we are starting with the Church.

The next one will be at a University of Zululand. I am also looking forward to that one too. It's the right time, definately.