This is an archive of the Treatment Action Campaign's public documents from
December 1998 until October 2008. I created this website because the TAC's
website appears unmaintained and people were concerned that it
was becoming increasingly hard to find important documents.
The menu items have been slightly edited and a new stylesheet applied to the site. But none of the documents have been edited, not even for minor errors. The text appears on this site as obtained from the Internet Archive.
The period covered by the archive encompassed the campaign for HIV medicines, the civil disobedience campaigns, the Competition Commission complaints, the 2008 xenophobic violence and the PMTCT, Khayelitsha health workers and Matthias Rath court cases.
Nkhensani Mavasa, TAC's deputy-chairperson, tells her story to Sylvia Jacobs, a TAC trainee journalist
My name is Nkhensani Mavasa from a village in Limpopo Province, South Africa. I was born in 1978. I am HIV-positive and open about my status. I was tested on 7 April 2005. At the clinic where I was giving education about HIV/AIDS, my co-ordinator always told me to go for an HIV test. But I always asked him why should I get tested? I never saw the need to do so. Eventually I decided to get tested and know about my status because I was always telling people to get tested whereas I didn't know my own status. My boyfriend accompanied me to Kensani Hospital for an HIV test. I was counselled before the test, while I waited for my results a lot of things went through my mind. The nurse called me in after ten minutes and said to me "You are HIV-positive." I could not believe it.
A week later I went to another clinic for a second test and the results were the same. I was still in denial, not believing what I was being told. After two days I went to the third clinic. Here I also asked for an HIV test as if I didn't know my status. The test was done and the results were still positive. It was so hard for me to accept I was HIV-positive, I just couldn't take it. My boyfriend supported me a lot and after a few weeks he also went for a test.
A few weeks later I told my parents, it was terrible because my father said to me "You leave my house immediately and you are no longer a part of this family anymore." My mother was heartbroken but she and my sisters supported me through this ordeal. I was so broken when I left my parent's house. I was devastated by the fact that I was HIV-positive and now my father had chased me out of his house. I moved in with my boyfriend and it took me a few months to accept my status. When I educate at the clinic now I do so with more confidence because I know about my status.
Soon after I found out about my status I went public about it. People in my community started calling me names but I didn't give up. After two months, I met a woman who is a TAC activist. She told me a lot of things about TAC, such as the organisation's constitution. I then joined TAC. When I started volunteering for TAC everything started to work out well for me and I did a lot of things in my community. I spoke about how TAC works and informed people about human rights. Many people came out about their status. I am grateful that antiretroviral treatment is available now in our clinic.
On 18 March 2006, I came to Cape Town to attend a conference where there were a lot of women from different provinces. This was a gender conference about women who were still unable to break the silence about their personal experiences. While listening to these stories, a lot of bad memories came back to me. Ten years ago I was raped by a pastor from my church. At that moment I could feel the hate inside my body. When I was raped I couldn't tell anyone because nobody would have believed me, as the pastor was a role model to a lot of people and very powerful in the community. I was also abused at school when I was 13 years old and I have kept quiet about this for a long time. Now the time has come for me to break the silence.
Today I would like to tell women out there to break the silence and they will see a brighter day tomorrow. I want to tell all the people who are HIV-positive to stop being in denial and be open about their status so that they can help other people who are unable to come to terms with their statuses. Today I can smile about my life because it has changed a lot. I can proudly say that I love TAC because it is through the organisation that I can help other people. Today I am the National Deputy Chairperson in TAC, I would like to encourage women to stand up for their rights.