Tuberculosis ambassador, Prince Nhlanganiso Zulu, encouraged students at the Durban University of Technology to live healthy TB and HIV/AIDS free lives during and after their time at the University.
Prince Zulu echoed these sentiments during the University’s 32th Annual International Candlelight Memorial 2015, at the University’s Mansfield Hall, Ritson Campus, on Friday last week (8 May 2015). The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is held to honour, support and advocate for those who have been affected by the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
DUT celebrated this event ahead of the official commemoration day which falls on 18 May 2015. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is led by grass roots civil society, including networks and organisations of people living with HIV and other key populations, affected families and communities as well as academic institutions, healthcare facilities and faith based groups.
Addressing the students, Prince Zulu shared a story of how he had suffered and lost a lung through TB. “When I was diagnosed with TB, it was too late. I was hospitalised for four months in a critical condition even after I had completed my treatment and I discovered that one of my lungs was severely damaged because of TB leaving me with no choice but to remove it,” he said.
Prince Zulu added that accepting his illness helped him on his nine month journey to recovery. “Viruses are of no colour, no particular statute. They know no age or whatever else. When they attack, they get to anyone. Prevention is better than cure. Peer pressure is everywhere. Your duty is to remember why you’re here and what you came for. We need to work together to fight these diseases and those who are already infected or affected must not be discriminated against,” he urged.
Musa Njoko, HIV/AIDS activist and gospel artist, who has been living with the virus since 1994, was also at the event. Njoko was diagnosed with HIV when she was 22 years old, during which her son was less than two years old. She has been tackling the stigma of HIV/AIDS since then, also advocating for improved access to HIV/AIDS information, bringing hope as well as helping to those living with the virus through her profile.
DUT peer educators also did presentations based on TB as well as HIV/AIDS. Some of the presenters also shared their personal life stories.
– Noxolo Memela
Pictured: Prince Nhlanganiso Zulu, TB ambassador, with Musa Njoko, HIV/AIDS activist and gospel artist.