Tears turn into HIV/Aids song

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Estelle El­lis el­[email protected]­soblack­star.co.za

Moved to tears by the HIV/Aids pan­demic, a pas­tor from Uiten­hage is now on a mis­sion to dis­trib­ute a song he wrote about the dis­ease – even af­ter a woman claim­ing to be from the de­part­ment of health told him to stop us­ing the song “as Aids doesn’t kill”.

Vossie Vorster said he would give a CD with his song to all schools, she­beens and taxi driv­ers who wanted one.

In 2000, Vorster, who is also the owner of the Cape Gar­dens Nurs­ery in Uiten­hage, was work­ing for Par­malat when he was sent on a course to learn more about HIV/Aids.

“While I was there, I asked the course pre­sen­ter if any­body has writ­ten a song about Aids.

“He said he didn’t think so. For the next 10 min­utes I just wrote down the lyrics in my head,” he said. He spent the next few months teach­ing about HIV/Aids in the work­place.

He said find­ing out about the toll of the pan­demic moved him to tears.

“And then [in 2000], things were bet­ter than what they are now,” he said. The song was put on to CD by Jeff Ben­jamin at Bay City Sound Stu­dio in Port El­iz­abeth in 2016.

“The CD fea­tures the voices of Cather­ine van Aswe­gen and Sel­wyn Arends,” Vorster said.

“Sel­wyn worked out the back­ground mu­sic and is us­ing the song in East Lon­don now.

“I be­lieve this is a job that God has given me to do.”

Vorster said in 2017 he heard of a big meet­ing about HIV/Aids in Walmer and gave the or­gan­is­ers the song. They agreed to play it, show­ing the words on a screen.

“It was very well re­ceived. The next day, I got a phone call [al­legedly] from the de­part­ment of health.

“The woman didn’t give her name. She said: ‘Mr Vorster, you must stop this song im­me­di­ately. Aids is not killing. It is a chronic ill­ness. Peo­ple can get bet­ter’.”

On Wed­nes­day, Eastern Cape health de­part­ment spokesper­son Lwandile Sicwet­sha said it was not the de­part­ment’s pol­icy stance that HIV/Aids does not kill.

“The arts sec­tor is im­por­tant to the de­part­ment in help­ing us to con­vey HIV/AIDS mes­sages and a broader healthy life­style cam­paign,” he said.

Pic­ture:EU­GENE COET­ZEE

LIS­TEN AND LEARN: Vossie Vorster with his CD

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