Just a few days ago, one of South Africa's most prominent soccer
bosses, Irvin Khoza, chairperson of Orlando Pirates, buried his
30-year-old daughter Zodwa after losing her to HIV/Aids.
The "Iron Lady" was believed to have been infected by her husband
and former Jomo Cosmos star Sizwe Motaung, who died in 2001, at
The defender was part of the Bafana Bafana squad which won the
African Cup of Nations in 1996.
Even former president Nelson Mandela, who has championed the
fight against HIV/Aids, was not spared his son.
Makgatho Mandela (54) died of Aids in a Johannesburg hospital
The children of Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi
-- 53-year-old Nelisuzulu and Mandisi Sibukakonke (48) -- died
from HIV/Aids in 2004.
The Khozas, Mandelas and Buthelezis are part of the South African
elite. They have finances and access to information and
That they have been affected proves that HIV/Aids does not
Experts are trying to educate the public that engaging in
unprotected sex is dangerous, like sharing needles, or taking
part in any other activity in which bodily fluids are exchanged.
According to UNAids, HIV/Aids affects more than one in five
adults in South Africa, where 5,3-million people live with the
"Is the message of HIV/Aids correctly getting through to the
poor, particularly those in the rural areas?" asks UNAids
regional support team director Mark Sterling.
Rural communities were still not getting enough information, he
said, criticising affected families, including the Khozas, for
speaking out about their relatives' illness only after they had
"People only speak out after. They like to act late. Then, what
good is that going to do?"
Stigmatisation is still a major problem, he said. Eugenia Keebine
of the National Association of People Living with HIV/Aids has
known of her HIV positive status for nine years.
"People still refuse to do things like use the phone after an HIV
positive person has. This, even though they have access to
information and are clear that the disease is not contracted that
way," Keebine said.
There were still people who did not understand what HIV was.
Sending out the right message played a critical role in
education, she said.
"Poor people need to be involved in ensuring that messages on
HIV/Aids that are placed on billboards are clear. There is no
point in placing a big billboard yet nobody can understand what
message is being portrayed."
She encouraged married couples to continue using condoms. "But in
our culture, how do you tell your husband that you should use a
condom within your marriage? He would immediately accuse you of
Buthelezi has publicly voiced his support for the compulsory
HIV/Aids testing of couples wanting to marry.
Although some gains have been made on HIV/Aids awareness, a lot
of work is still needed, said loveLife chief executive officer
"We are still not making progress in the explosion of HIV in
women between ages 18 and 20. The real problem is that younger
women are having sex with much older men, putting themselves at
risk for physical and sometimes financial security," Harrison
He too has encouraged married couples to use condoms.
Meanwhile, an official from the the Department of Health
emphasised that it does not matter even if one had the best
"If one does not practice a healthy lifestyle at the end of the
day it will catch up with you. We say even in marriages there has
to be a sense of faithfulness. If there is no trust in a marriage
use a condom," the official said.