The Bulungula Incubator had a terrific week-long visit from journalists Mia and Darren of the Mail & Guardian and Voice of America radio broadcast. Throughout the week Mia and Darren talked with a variety of people in Xhora Mouth including sub headman, shebeen owners, and traditional healers. Armed with their voice recorder and camera, the duo got loads of material to use for their stories.
Along with an insightful trip to the local clinic, Darren and Mia were able to attend our monthly Health Day and as luck would have it, it turned out to be one of our best health days ever! Our new strategy for our Health Days is to incorporate guest speakers that are able to address HIV from different perspectives, hopefully raising the comfort level of openly discussing HIV awareness in the villages. The guest speakers we were looking for include: a person living with HIV/AIDS, a traditional healer, and a BI community care worker for that respective village. We managed to find a guest speaker that was all three! Our very own community care worker, Veliswa, has known she is HIV positive since 2008. She is very open about her status and has a strong, determined attitude about combating stigmatism associated with HIV/AIDS. As a traditional healer in training, she is a known and respected member of her community. We invited her to participate in our health event and she was happy to oblige.
After giving a riveting speech about her experiences, she proceeded to address each faction of the community directly: “this is for you women…this is for you men…this is for the youth.” At the end everyone was cheering and it was obvious her message had gotten through.
Overall everything worked out better than expected. The weather was unbelievably cooperative and we managed to meet and speak with every person the journalists were interested in. Even Darren and Mia were amazed at how perfect the week unfolded: “in 20 years of being a journalist I’ve never had a story where so many things kept going right!”
We are so happy we had the chance to host Mia and Darren and show them around the village. Keep your eyes out for their articles in the Health Section of the Mail & Guardian due to be published in the coming months. Also keep your ears open for their stories to be featured on Voice of America!