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South Africa women with HIV star of exhibition

12-03-2012 14:33 BJT Special Report:2012 World AIDS Day |

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By CCTV correspondent Rene Del Carme

Turning to South Africa, every year from November the 25th to December the 10th, South Africa marks Activism Against Gender Violence. In addition to the country holding high rates of violence against women and girls, it is also one of those with the highest cases of the HIV and Aids pandemic.

Not Me; Not Mine: Women, Girls And HIV is a photo exhibition of 16 black AND white images of South African women who are living positively with HIV virus.

Each portrait is accompanied by a text which contains a first-hand narrative of each woman’s journey.

Prudence Mabele, woman living with HIV, said,"It’s an initiative that I believe in because women’s stories are important. They represent people’s stories. Silence equals death. And so if you talk about anything that troubles you, you’re able to have a voice."

Mercy Makhalemele, woman living with HIV, said,"HIV is a disease of love. Why we’ve contracted HIV is simply because we love somebody else. And I’m sure that 90% of women that are infected with HIV, it’s based on loving somebody."

Photographer Leonie Marinovich says her work represents a visual focus on women and girls, exploring ways in which they navigate their lives as mothers, wives,professionals, students and sexual beings in the context of HIV.

Leonie Marinovich, photographer, said,"I wanted people to be able to relate to these women as women. Not as somebody who’s suffering from HIV/Aids. And thereby labelling them. It was interesting because I tried to contain the framing and the shape, because my initial view was to try and get images to look as similar as possible. But somehow these women still managed to impress their personalities on the photographer, and thereby the viewer."

South Africa’s Deputy-Minister of Women, Children and People With Disabilities... says the 16 Days of Activism Campaign is an important opportunity for the country to reflect on the unacceptable level of violence based on gender and sexual orientation. This includes sexual harassment, abuse, rape domestic violence and other cultural mal-practices that are harmful to women and children.

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, deputy minister of Women, Children & People with Disabilities, said,"Violence against women and children is a serious issue for our country. It’s becoming an epidemic. So, it’s something that we can’t ignore. It’s something that we need to deal with. And the exhibition awards us an opportunity to have stories to share with young girls, that’ll give them hope and courage. But also that will enable them to come out and say: ’I’m Not Alone. It did not only happen to me.’And learn from these women, how they can deal with that an that is what we will be using this exhibition for."

Rene Del Carme said,"This exhibition of 16 women and girls living with HIV/Aids, will be on display at the Old Fort in Johannesburg, until the 10th of December, and will then travel around South Africa."



Editor:Qin Xue |Source:

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