Eastern Cape Activator & provincial representative Phikolomzi Habe and several prominent national and international icons led the main preparations for the 2016 Nelson Mandela Day Celebrations in Qunu on the 17th of July 2016.
Among other key tasks Habe’s role was to facilitate the screening as well as the question and answer plenary session (post screening) of a globally acclaimed South African inspirational film titled “Themba – A Boy Called Hope”. The film deals with the tenacity of not just conquering HIV stereotypes but building a great sport (football) career from a deep rural Eastern Cape area.
The infotainment event aim was to honour and remember the late Nelson Mandela’s tireless fight against HIV and AIDS and inspire youth to dream big even in the midst of adversity. Other Eastern Cape provincial representative Lusanda Yose and Activator Zenande Mtwesi were offered an opportunity to do short presentations about the ACTIVATE Network.
The event was supported by United National aligned HIV and AIDS fighting organization Pro Test HIV, mobile modern solar supported educational motion and picture institution Sunshine Cinemas (led by young people Boyzn Bucks, Lufefe Figlan, Mandy Mbekeni, Khanya Khanyisa Mpahlwa, Yolanda Rachel Sihlali, Rowan Pybus, Sydelle Willow Smith and Lindani Gumede) and continental youth mental consciousness organization, Africa Rising which is led by Ndaba Mandela. While addressing the attendees, Habe said that an HIV and AIDS-free society was one of many dreams that the former President fought for – even during his retirement stage. “If there is anything that all young people should always remember about the late global icon for his ethical leadership traits and principles”, said Habe, who is already discussing groundbreaking HIV and AIDS collaborative initiative concept with UNAIDS.
In his closing remarks, the Eastern Cape provincial representative quoted late President Mandela’s famous quote about ways of fighting the HIV and AIDS stigma. “Where people of goodwill get together and transcend their differences for the common good, peaceful and just solutions can be found even for those problems which seem most intractable. Let us give publicity to HIV/AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and say that somebody has died because of HIV/AIDS, and people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary.” said Habe
On the same day, prominent American billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates delivered the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi campus. Fighting HIV transmission and youth development were some of the key issues Gates tackled during his speech. He pleaded with all Africans to do everything within their power right now to help them build the future that Nelson Mandela dreamed of.
While addressing the fight for HIV transmission prevention, he said “Almost half of the people living with HIV are undiagnosed. So we need more creative ways to make testing and treatment accessible and easier to use. It’s clear to everyone how big and complicated the challenges are. But it’s just as clear that people with bravery, energy, intellect, passion, and stamina can face big, complicated challenges and overcome them. If we fail to act, all the hard-earned gains made in HIV in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 15 years could be reversed, particularly given that Africa’s young people are entering the age when they are most at risk of HIV.
Famous philanthropist and founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, agrees with the late Nelson Mandela that young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom. “I agree with Mandela about young people, and that is one reason I am optimistic about the future of this continent. Our duty is to invest in young people, to put in place the basic building blocks so that they can build the future. And our duty is to do it now, because the innovations of tomorrow depend on the opportunities available to children today”, said Gates as he delivered a Nelson Mandela lecture at the University of Pretoria on the 17th of July, the eve of Mandela Day and the launch of the 2016 International AIDS conference.
Former South African first lady, Graça Machel , South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Hollywood Actress, Charlize Theron, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, Sir Elton John and Prince Harry, South African Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi , South African Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe Were some of the prominent global people who have tackled the HIV and AIDS during this Mandela Month.