Namibia: Creatives Speak Out On World Aids Day

NAMIBIA has joined the rest of the world in celebrating the World Aids Day, which aims to stop the spread of new cases of HIV-AIDS, secure the rights of people living with HIV, and fight HIV stigma and discrimination.

Through this year’s theme ‘Rock the Ribbon’, some creatives who have contributed to fight the spread of HIV in the entertainment industry, share their views with Unwrap.online.

Well-renowned actor from the film ‘Kapana’, Adriano Visagie said the roles he plays have allowed him to self-reflect on the stories he tells.

“My movies and roles have allowed me to have self-reflection of the stories I tell and the importance of exhuming these characters. From playing George in ‘Kapana’, who lives a healthy lifestyle to Kado in ‘Salute’. Being able to be a vessel of storytelling which reflects the unspoken reality is a form of activism for me.

“To rock the ribbon means we are breaking the stigma around HIV-AIDS. Stigma is still very prevalent in modern day Namibia, and as much as we are recovering from Covid, let’s not turn a blind eye to HIV-AIDS.

“I celebrate those who do regular testing and who practice safe sex. It’s in these times that it’s imperative to also note the importance of Namibian households to have the ‘sex talk’ with their teenagers,” he said.

Founder and director of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), Philippe Talavera, said World AIDS Day has always been an important day for OYO, to remember those we lost to AIDS and to encourage people to stay safe and be tolerant. Discrimination is still sadly a problem in Namibia, said Talavera.

“This year it is particularly important. Since the beginning of Covid, people have forgotten all about HIV. This year, in collaboration with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, Unicef, UNAIDS, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the youth empowerment group and the Regional AIDS Coordinating Committee, we are having campaigns in Zambezi, Khomas and Erongo.

“The OYO dance troupe is performing pieces on HIV, we are screening our film ‘Kapana’ and we are promoting the undetectable is untransmittable campaign. We use the arts because it appeals to your emotion, not your intellect. We want people to think about HIV and what it means to them and why they should use available protection such as condoms or PrEP,” Talavera said.

Namibia has made huge strides with respect to raising awareness and increasing knowledge about HIV at all levels of society. Yet stigmatisation of HIV positive people has remained a challenge: It results in a lack of physical and emotional care, leads people to avoid getting treatment, and even contributes to new HIV infections.

Each year on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day as people around the world unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.-unWrap.online

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