Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDs, Executive Director Cindy Kelemi says people in the┬ápublic eye should be careful when making statements that could be associated with stigma and discrimination.
Kelemi’s statement comes after┬áclaims┬áthat a South African reality┬áTV Star, Nonhle Thema, said Batswana women are thin, ugly and infected with HIV/AIDs when she was in Botswana lately.
Kelemi warned that people in the public eye should be careful when making statements about┬áHIV/AIDs┬ábecause such statements could be associated with stigma and discrimination.
She said that┬áalready there are repercussions that came as a result of the statements alleged to have been uttered by Nonhle, which clearly shows that HIV/AIDs is a sensitive issue.
Kelemi said individuals should not be discriminated against because of their HIV/AIDs status because HIV is like any other chronic disease.
Whether the former South African TV star made such statements or not, the fact is that already there are repercussions following claims about her statements.
She said that people should desist from stigmatisation and discrimination. Kelemi said that people should take legal action against those who make discriminatory statements against people who are HIV positive.
She was concerned that more than 50 percent of the cases that have been referred to them are in relation to stigma and discrimination.
Kelemi said that there has been an upsurge in cases of stigma and discrimination in the workplace that were reported to them.
Kelemi said that some of the cases have been taken to court where some individuals are compensated. She said that some of the cases end up being settled out of court.
┬áKelemi said that people should be cautious when making statements against others on matters relating to their status.
Meanwhile, Options Botswana Operations Manager, Craig Vanvuuren says┬áthey took a decision to┬áremove Madison shoes from their shelves in all Options shops in Botswana.
Vanvuuren said that they took a decision to┬áremove the Madison brand because the TV┬ástar is a brand ambassador for a shoe brand called Madison.
He said┬áthat they intend to take back Madison shoes to its manufacturer in South Africa after removing the shoes from their warehouses and shelves.
He said that following the statements that have gone viral internationally through the social media, they took a decision to call off all Madison brand shoes in the whole country.
Vanvuuren also noted that they took a decision because they are not condoning such derogatory statements to be associated with┬áOptions which is a Botswana company.
He said that they have pulled down a billboard that was showing Thema┬ápromoting Madison shoes.┬á
Options Botswana paraded Thema lately in one of their shops where they invited people to come and witness the actor promoting Madison branded shoes at Game City.