As many of you will know I have been passionately involved with Nkosi’s Haven for the last couple of years and the experience has been both uplifting and heart-breaking.
Nkosi’s Haven was formed in 1999 by Gail Johnson, the foster mother of Nkosi Johnson, who at the age 11 made one of the bravest and most moving speeches at the Durban hosted, 13th International Aids Conference in 2000, and became one of the key symbols of HIV/AIDS activism. Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing home environment for mothers, their children and orphans left destitute by HIV/AIDS.
We are not an orphanage
We have created a vibrant and secure village environment in which children are cared for by their “foster” mothers in order to receive the nurturing, values and love that are essential for the development of a child. Whilst many of these children carry the burden of unspeakable pasts, they are given all the support and care that is needed for them to heal these wounds and to make the transition into a normal adult life.
We are not a hospice where people with HIV/AIDS come to prepare to die
We believe that with the right interventions, AIDS is not a terminal disease, but rather a chronic but manageable disease. It is critical however that a treatment programme that focuses on lifestyle, medication, diet and overall health is key to making this transition. Many of the people suffering from this disease or the effects of it carry with them huge social stigma, have in many cases been traumatised and abused, and have been reinforced with the belief that they have no future. We provide an environment to deal with these past traumas and to create a safe and positive environment to give people dignity and hope.
At present there are 182 residents spread across the 2 houses in Berea and the village in Alan Manor, comprising 29 mothers and 153 children, of which approximately half are orphaned.
The following article was written by Laurelle Williams and originally appeared in tame Times on November 29,2011, Johannesburg South Africa.
What started out as a ‘boys bet’ turned out to empower two young girls, Patricia Canon (16) and Nonjabulo Khubani (18), residents of Nkosi Haven Village. On 20 November Patricia crossed the finish line of the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge becoming an instant heroine for the youth and if Nonjabulo had her way, she wouldhave still cycled the race with chicken pox but higher powers said it was a no go. Nonetheless, Nonjabulo is still a victor for putting the effort, commitment and dedication in her preparations.
Bradley Turkington presented Rob Noel with a deal: he would sponsor two bicycles on condition that Rob acquires two residents from Nkosi Haven and sees them to the finish line of the 94.7 cycle challenge. Seeing as Rob had made a commitment to Nkosi Haven since his Cape to Cairo charity trip that he rode in aid of Nkosi Haven and other charities early this year and not being able to say no to a ‘boys bet’, he took on the challenge. All residents of Nkosi Haven were asked who was interested in riding a bicycle and in stepped two brave, fearless young ladies, Patricia and Nonjubulo. The training commenced in September with Rob taking the girls to Cradle of Humankind and Suiker- bosrand on weekends to experience hills, the heat and long-distance riding.
“In total, we had 400km of training”
“At first the training was a struggle, Patricia really hated me as at first she despised hills, but thanks to the assistance and advice from Bradley, Patricia overcame her dislike of hills and conquered them. Bradley educated us on diet, hydra- tion and what to eat during a race and I am really proud of both of the girls. It is a major achievement to have the endurance, mental strength and belief that you will overcome a hill or will complete the training,” Rob said.
Are you ready to be Freddie? September 5th 2011 would have been Freddie’s 65th birthday and to mark the occasion, family & friends can join us on Sunday the 4th of September to experience a spectacular tribute to Freddie Mercury and Queen! Joseph Clark is widely known for his incredible interpretations of Queen’s music. Those […]
Soweto Gospel Choir and children – singing Amazing Grace in memory of the mothers and children of S.A. lost to AIDS, the late Oscar Ngwenya, projects director killed in a car accident 3 years, Emmelinah a mom who was murdered and 21 year Standiwe who had lived at the Nkosi’s Haven for 8 years and passed away in January this year to an AIDS related disease. And Anton Hammerl, photojournalist who was a special friend of Nkosi’s Haven and killed in Libya in April this year.
The Soweto Gospel Choir, multi international award winners, including 2 Grammies and 1 Emmy, performed at Nkosi’s 10th Memorial service, bringing a magnificent, emotional and dynamic dimension to the service.
Nkosi Johnson Memorial Lecture, June 7th 2011
This speech is dedicated to the Ministers of Basic Education and Social Development in South Africa with the hope that it might influence them to meaningfully address the pain, loss of life and thwarted possibility it describes.
Johanna Matshega, Mpho Mosounyane, Zintle Mqwayo, Londiwe Mazibuko,Truly Tsewu and Mpho Bagaqane competed in the Future Stars Dance competition run by Paul and Sandy’s Dance Studio at Carnival City last Saturday the 21st May. This year it was run in conjunction with Micheal Wentink who is South Africa’s spokesman for “Freedom to Dance”.
On arrival the 6 were given Future Stars t-shirts and were taken to a back dressing room where they and others all had their makeup done by students of the ‘Rene Institute of Beauty Therapy’. They got the works and looked so so beautiful. Sheila one of their trainers made light work of Zintle and Johanna’s(which were down to her waist) braids was an eye opener to watch. All of their hair do’s were so fantastic, that Sheila joined us for some photos.
At the Ballroom prize giving we were presented with this huge hamper decorated with flowers. Each kid had their own packet wrapped with ribbon and a bow and in each was a pair of shoes and a new leotard and Ballroom skirt. They were so excited, I didn’t even have a chance to see them until they were all changed.
Nkosi Johnson’s 10th Anniversary Memorial Campaign
1st June marks the 10th anniversary of Nkosi Johnson, the young AIDS activist, who passed away from an AIDS related disease on that day in 2001. Not only did Nkosi give AIDS a face in Africa, but became a world icon when speaking at the opening ceremony of the 13th World AIDS Conference in July 2000. Challenging the then government to roll out ARV’s to pregnant women to prevent the virus being passed onto their unborn children and asking for acceptance of all HIV/AIDS infected people as “we are all the same”.
Nkosi first made international headlines in 1997 when his foster mother, Gail Johnson, tried to enroll him at a local school. With no policies in place around the admission of HIV+ children into schools, the ensuing battle to have him admitted brought to the fore the huge gaps in the health, education and social services pertaining to care, education and acceptance of HIV+ children in schools. Nkosi pioneered the Government policy that was launched two years later, giving all infected children the right to education.
Click to find out more about the mothers who are involved in our jewellery project.
Nkosi’s Haven’s children were certainly given a ‘sugar rush’ this Easter