Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nkosi Johnson - an true inspiration!

When I discussed HIV/AIDS with my younger pupils (11-14 years old) I focussed on the story on Nkosi Johnson. For those who are unaware Nkosi died of an Aids related illness on 1st June 2001 a short time after speaking out to the world at the Durban AIDS Conference in 2000. As a 10 year old Nkosi took to the platform in front of 10000 people, the world's media as well as President Mbeki and former President Mandela. Nkosi tlaked of his story of living with HIV but he was not bitter or angry - he was full of hope. He urged the world to tackle the pandemic and to ensure that children like him would not have to die. His word at the conference moved many to tears:

"Care for us and accept us - we are all human beings. We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else. Don't be afraid of us - we are all the same."

I have never been touched as deeply by a politician or world figure as I was touched by Nkosi and my pupils also find him an true inspiration. One of my older students actually commented that 'he would have been my age if he had lived.'

For more information about Nkosi's Haven and Nkosi's story visit The website has an excellent biography of Nkosi and a transcript of his deeply moving speech in Durban.

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