Remarks by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visit to Nkosi’s Haven Village, Alan Manor, Johannesburg
The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi,
Founding Director of Nkosi’s Haven, Ms Gail Johnson,
The Community of Nkosi’s Haven,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dumelang. Sanibonani. Good Morning.
I wish to thank Ms Gail Johnson and her family for letting the seed of peace, hope and understanding blossom at this life-inspiring village which honours the wishes and memory of Xolani Nkosi Johnson.
His birth name “Xolani” captured the yearning for peace, forgiveness and love.
The realisation of his dream at this village affords us the opportunity to come to terms with the pain of how AIDS deprived our nation of this courageous, brave young soul at the tender age of 12.
Nkosi’s Haven has become a place of hope, acceptance and renewal.
It is a sanctuary for mothers who need another chance to be in the lives of their children away from the scorn of the ignorant and the brutality of abusive men.
It is a safe place that supports and builds the abandoned, the ill and the weak.
It is a community of dreamers and achievers.
It is at Nkosi’s Haven where the truth is reinforced that people with HIV are human beings with capabilities, needs and wishes like everyone else.
This is a home whose task is to enlighten, inspire and empower as it challenges all of us to act collectively and urgently against prejudice, stigma and discrimination.
Nkosi Johnson, as President Nelson Mandela described him, became an international icon of the struggle for life and a great ambassador for millions of South Africans living with HIV.
Since his fight to be admitted to school in 1997 and his memorable address at the AIDS Conference in Durban in 2000, we have made many strides as a country to fight discrimination against people living with HIV, to roll out free ARV treatment, and to reduce mother to child transmission.
The task of promoting safe sexual behaviour and promoting greater awareness about HIV is a task none of us must be exempt from undertaking.
Nkosi’s Haven continues to be a source of light for our nation, our continent and the world.
In five days’ time, the world will once again meet in Durban for the 21st International AIDS Conference.
As South Africa, we will share with the world the progress we have made in combating the AIDS pandemic since 2000.
We will share with them how Nkosi Johnson remains alive in the lives of the many children and mothers whose lives are rekindled and transformed daily at this village.
We will remind them that he remains a source of inspiration to his mother Gail and his extended family here and elsewhere.
We will insist that the dream of an HIV-free generation remains possible in our lifetime if we all pull our resources together, act in unity and act now.
We thank you all at Nkosi’s Haven for allowing us to come here to draw strength and inspiration as we count down to AIDS 2016.
I thank you.
Source: South African Government.