Since ages past, music has always played a very important function in mankind’s battle for emancipation. It is that decisive ingredient in the blend of strategies used by people to connect with the other world. For up and coming dancer and artist Tlotlo Tomeletso, also known as Queen T, music has also become a pathway to be used to find solutions to some of the problems that threaten the existence of mankind.
In an interview with Arts & Society she says “music is a community mobilisation tool that I utilise to create awareness on HIV.” She also adds that she came up with the idea after she first heard of the 90-90-90 target which is an ambitious UNAIDS goal that; by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; by 2020, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and by 2020, 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
She says her songs and dance are used to bridge ignorance gaps in the society and are already having an impact on people although her only problem is finding sponsorship.
“Since I started music a little less than a year ago, more than 600 people have decided to go for HIV testing for the first time,” adding that “most of them have been men.” Since it has been proven that most men in Botswana shun getting tested, she says music then creates that informal setting which encourages someone to test for HIV. “In the long run, this will help bridge barriers that stop people from getting tested,” says Queen T.
“My main aim is to increase testing coverage through song and dance and I believe if I find people who are willing to sponsor me, more people will be tested,” she says adding that her target is the youth who are listed as one of the HIV at risk population.
In the face of other crippling challenges Botswana is faced with, song and dance is a crucial yet undervalued component being employed to stop HIV/AIDS in its tracks.