Last days in Africa

JUNE 10, 2008 12:06 AM| no comments

Our penultimate day was spent at the Candlelight Memorial. It was memorable for meeting the former President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda. He was quite delightful and warmly greeted us every time we bumped into him. He was staying at the same hotel and allowed us to accompany him to the mausoleum of his friend and fellow freedom fighter, President Banda of Malawi.

Kenneth Kaunda and WebsEdge crew

Kenneth Kaunda has been one of the most out-spoken African leaders in the fight against Aids. When his son died of Aids related illnesses, he made this public and also went himself for Aids testing. Secrecy and stigma is a fundamental barrier to HIV/Aids prevention. It stops people wanting to know their status and when they do, from sharing that knowledge.
The morning started early when we, and the Global Health Council team bundled together into Gerald’s truck to travel to the CiVo stadium. There was great excitement surrounding the ceremony and in particular the arrival of Malawi’s President Mutharika, surrounded by men in black suits wearing dark glasses. The President toured the information booths, which sadly were not open to the general public.

President Mutharika

After candle lighting, dancing and speeches, the stands were pulled down and everyone dispersed quickly.

Candlelight Memorial - Lighting of the Candle

The following morning we bade a sad farewell to Malawi. Back in Johannesburg, xenophobic rioting was taking hold of the townships. Safely tucked away at the airport, we waited for our flight back home reflecting on this life-changing experience.
A couple of weeks on and we thank all those that we met. The wonderful people of Ilinge seemed so grateful to us for visiting, but personally, they have given me far more than I could possibly offer them.
Thank you.

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