I have been prompted by an awakening in my conscience and compassionate commitment that I have in HIV/AIDS issues to write this letter.
First, let me record that I wish the officials would declare World AIDS Day a public holiday, just as they did with the recent national Election Day. I contend that this should clearly be in line with the national strategic vision on HIV/AIDS and further show how serious Government takes the response to HIV/AIDS.
Second, I am undeniably saddened that our recently elected political leaders are not in the forefront of pathway to the World AIDS Day. Let me remind you that Rre Festus Mogae did tremendous work in this regard and I see no reason why the same responsibility should not be imparted and portrayed.
The World AIDS Day is not a responsibility of the head of state alone!
Is there a need for us to remind that we have buried countless people because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic?
Have we become too busy with other issues that we see no reason to engage a mass concert to celebrate our efforts to reduce AIDS deaths and to remember those whom we lost as a result of this disease?
Or we have reached a point where we think its time to relax and be in denial that HIV/AIDS will never cause as many deaths as we have seen in the past?
I am not also impressed with the way communication on HIV/AIDS is being made an eccentric issue. The media should stop and revise the way they portray this very important international day.
HIV/AIDS needs us to act in a concentric way and this is the only way in which we can overcome and win the fight.
Third, we need to act immediately and discuss openly with our children the importance of World AIDS Day and where our responsibility lies.
For this I wish the National AIDS Coordinating Agency in conjunction with Tebelopele would have set up VCT in each and every Kgotla on this day.
Again this reflects a high level of commitment that trickles down from a high ranking office to the nearest place each member of society is able to access.
This is not meant to demean the Kgotla in any way but it is the place that each of us can reach.
Fourth, organizations, musicians, and other entities have saddened us by not showing any level of participation in the World AIDS Day, yet they continue to siphon the resources or money of the same people whom are affected by HIV/AIDS.
In future, perhaps it would be significant to hear that a well known production house is sponsoring the World AIDS day and or that a group of local musicians are doing concert with free entrance to remember and commemorate World AIDS Day.
I am basically trying to say that we should stop the reliance and view that Government will always do everything. Let me point a good example, the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management at Stellenbosch University is currently organizing a big concert to celebrate and commemorate this day. What are our big corporations doing? I do mean the big mining giants, the private tertiary institutions and the companies in the financial services sector?
The answer is nothing!
This means there is a problem and we need to point it out. There is a serious lack of mutual support among established organisations and Government.
The intention of this letter is that we observe the need for activities to become more effective, efficient and sustainable as a result of greater coordination, better networking, strengthened communication, and also improved mechanisms for working together, building on each other’s experience and success, and avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort.
Mooketsi Bennedict Tekere,