On Thursday Dec 1, we commemorated World AIDS Day with numerous events held around Khayelitsha and throughout Cape Town. First we participated in the unveiling of a plaque at the Ubuntu Clinic to commemorate the ten years of pioneering work this clinic has done for integrated TB and HIV treatment. A bronze plaque now rests proudly outside the main entrance, reminding all who enter of the hard work and dedication that brought such high standards of care to Khayelitsha. One of those involved in the unveiling announced, “This is the pride of Khayelitsha, this is the result of sweating, of perseverance – we have this treatment available here”. They warned the audience about the challenges ahead and urged them to push on. “Don’t give up, we are behind you, even if it’s an uphill battle”.
Next, a large group of TAC activists caught a bus into Cape Town, in order to attend the World AIDS Day commemoration at Parliament. It was a lively event, with speeches by civil society and government members, singing by Princilla Babu and a group of peer educators, candle lighting, and testimonials by activists.
Finally, we headed back to Khayelitsha for the event at Oliver Tambo Hall in Site C. There, a crowd of thousands watched in delight at the spectacle of the Zip Zap Circus, a group who teaches ground-based circus skills to children living with HIV and receiving ARV treatment. It is always a highlight of every World AIDS Day and this year was no exception. Other musical acts complemented the event.
All in all, it was a wonderful day, filled with pride for what has been accomplished to date to prevent and treat HIV infections, along with energy and enthusiasm for the work that still remains.