Maimane pays tribute to Aids activist Lucky Mazibuko

2019-04-20 19:53
DA's Mmusi Maimane. (Antonio Muchave, Sowetan, Gallo Images, file)

DA's Mmusi Maimane. (Antonio Muchave, Sowetan, Gallo Images, file)

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Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane paid tribute to Lucky Mazibuko for his contribution in the fight against HIV/Aids.

Maimane who visited the activist in Soweto, Gauteng on Saturday, described Mazibuko as a "true servant".

"Lucky Mazibuko’s contribution to the fight against HIV and Aids – and particularly in helping break down the stigma so that more people could openly seek help and treatment – has been of immense value to all South Africans living with HIV and Aids," Maimane said. 

"Today many South Africans are disclosing their status and seeking help, but this wasn’t always the case. Two decades ago it took courageous activists to come forward and change the narrative around being HIV positive. And few were as courageous as Lucky Mazibuko."

Mazibuko has been living with HIV for close on three decades. He is one of the first South Africans to openly declare his status in a time when most still feared the public reaction, Maimane said.  

"He was certainly the first to spread his message and his activism through a newspaper column in the country’s largest daily newspaper, The Sowetan."

Mazibuko also served as the HIV/Aids programme director for the Nelson Mandela Foundation in early 2000. 

He also helped former president Nelson Mandela prepare speeches and become an influential voice in the combating of HIV and Aids, Maimane said.  

"Lucky’s tireless activism and fight for access to antiretroviral drugs for all has made it possible for thousands of other HIV positive South Africans to live normal, healthy lives, just as he does."

But it wasn’t always an easy struggle.

"For sixteen long years Lucky refused his ARV treatment out of principle, saying that he would not use the life-saving medication until it was available to all. This left him gravely ill on several occasions. 

"His ARV-strike increased the pressure on a government that, at the time, had not endorsed ARVs or made them available through our public healthcare. This selfless sacrifice nearly cost him his life, but it almost certainly saved the lives of countless others," Maimane said. 

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Read more on:    mmusi mai­mane  |  johannesburg  |  hiv and aids  |  health
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