Capricorn District Municipality held a successful Candlelight memorial service held at Inveraan Multipurpose Centre in Blouberg Local Municipality on 20 May 2021. The candlelight memorial service was led by Maponya from Positive Action Campaign. Maponya told a story of his life living with HIV. Maponya said since HIV was discovered in 1983 many people lost their lives because of this virus. Some of the people died because of stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV/Aids. 

“We light this candle in their memory. We remember people like Gugu Dlamini who after disclosing her status, she was raped and brutally killed by men. You all need to know that stigma and discrimination are contribute immensely towards the psychosocial difficulties and even death behind people living with HIV”, said Maponya

I discovered my status in 2003, when I was 20 years old. Today as I am speaking, I have been living with the virus for 18 years. I was with my friend when we randomly went to do test and as he was celebrating his negative status, I had to be honest to myself and tell him that I tested positive. He said to me, my friend, I do not care about that, you are still my friend and I will support you all the way.

I have been discriminated against and that had a psychological impact on me.  I took a decision that I need to live free, I then decided to disclose to my family and go public too. “I told myself I will not die until the cure is found. I took a brave decision not to allow those stigmatisation to drive and direct how I live my life, I decided a route I want to take. I am a living testimony and I believe we can have an HIV free nation. Those of us who are positive we need to take our medication and be at the forefront of the struggle, we can beat it.

As we light this candles, we remember lives of men and women who died because of this virus. But what is even more painful is when you turn off the candle doing it with your own fingers, you must know that the pain that you feel when you turn off the light is a pain that people with HIV feel when you stigmatize and gossip about them. Imagine their pain and ask yourself, how long should they endure the pain because of you?, said Maponya. On the other side at Seshego, CDM in partnership with Limpopo Champlaincy, SAPS and other stakeholders hosted a Men's march and dialogue against gender based violence.

The purpose of the event was to engage with men on GBV ,and come up with solutions to stop GBV in the community. The campaign was attended by stakeholders such as Thuthuzela, Banna Gopolang Ga Bedi, Seshego Community Police Forum, Anova, Correctional Services, South African Police Service, Blood River Advice Office, Father a Nation. Topics discussed were on  What is GBV, Causes of GBV, Consequences of GBV and Possible Solutions to GBV.

 
Cllr John Mpe - The Executive Mayor


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