Everyday Hero: Zinhle Thabethe

HIV/AIDS Activist

Why is Zinhle Thabethe an Everyday Hero?

Zinhle Thabethe is a positive person. She is HIV-positive yes, but she is also positive that HIV is yet another challenge that South Africa can beat.

She likens the challenge to that of apartheid and how South Africans came together and rallied around the cause to bring down a regime that was determined to destroy us. But it didn’t. It made us stronger. And that’s what Zinhle believes can and should happen around HIV.

Zinhle is not a doctor or scientist; in fact she has very little formal education. But she knows HIV and is determined to empower other people with this knowledge.

Why? Because she believes that all she needs is a moment to clarify and simplify and unpack the issues that are scary to people. Because fear and ignorance are still two of the most dangerous attributes of the disease.

In her own words …

“We should all be aids activists, because there is a thin line between being positive and being negative. You never know what may happen in the future.”

Fast Facts

  • Zinhle grew up in Umlazi township.
  • She is one of the lead vocalists in the Sinikithemba Choir, an internationally acclaimed HIV-positive vocal ensemble. Its name translates to “we give hope.” The choir originated with patients from a support group at the Sinikithemba Center, a clinic that provided care even before Aids treatment was available.
  • Zinhle works as a deputy director for iTeach, an HIV/Aids-focused educational and solution-seeking programme.
  • Zinhle is the only South African to be named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She is one of 10 other visionaries from all over the world who have been recognised for their contributions to world knowledge through exploration.

Story published on SAinfo on 12 June 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa