Maverick Life

Not Me, Not Mine: 16 days, 16 stories of courage – Day Sixteen

By Leonie Marinovich 20 December 2012

LEONIE MARINOVICH's series of portraits are the catalyst for a discussion in which urban African women speak frankly about the nuances and strategies of living with their HIV status, and of dealing with male violence in their societies.

Marinovich has long been photographing people in rural communities who are living with HIV, and this collaboration with UNAIDS was an opportunity to chat about the things people usually don’t discuss about the virus, and for women of all ages to speak about their life experiences.

One of the most emphasised themes to emerge was that of image, self-image and how women wish to present themselves to the world. The interplay between these intimate confidences and the confident, comfortable manner that these women offer themselves to the photographer’s camera interact in a remarkable way with the stories of their lives and emotions that they present verbally.

Prudence Mabele

Born ’71, July

Diagnosed 1990

We were fighting with the government to say they must approve the ARVs;

remember, they didn’t provide.

I could have died in South Africa like the others waiting for the day when they would decide that it’s people’s rights to actually get medicine.

But at the same time I’m not sure if something has happened, there’s something that has been forgotten. Like in terms of Nkosi Johnson – he suffered a lot and all. But something has shifted. We teach people, we’ve had condoms, we’ve talked about this thing. We’ve never done studies that prove, that people really, really, really use the condoms we distribute to them, we can only trust that they do.

I do think about dying, but these days our dying is crazy. It’s not going to be mostly of HIV. I get scared.

I think now I’m more scared of what the society can do to us, than of the disease.

Many of my friends have been killed. I’ve just lost a friend who’s lived with HIV for 14 years, who didn’t die of HIV, but he was murdered.

It’s like Gugu Dlamini. The last time she said she was being threatened; we did not take her too seriously. So I think about that. They stigmatise and they discriminate and they can’t deal with their own status.

I think that they can’t deal with our courage either. So they will kill you for that.

There are no role models, and I don’t think there will be role models for behavior change.

In our country we practice polygamy, and we practice extramarital affairs if you are married.

Even our leaders are constantly apologising for whatever they’ve done. If it’s not this leader, it will be another leader.

I’m fine where I am. I’m not looking. A relationship can find me, but I’m very demanding. I don’t want to look after another person, so they should have all that it takes to love themselves.

I just want a relationship that I think I deserve. So if it’s not there, I would rather not be in a relationship; it’s a waste of my time.

I’m a feminist. There, I’m very, very sure. DM


Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?

Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.

Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.

*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.

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