The Star Early Edition
BIG REWARD FOR HIV ACTIVIST IRENE
A PRETORIA woman rejected by her family for being HIV-positive has been included in the 25 Women Changing the World list by the American weekly magazine People.
Irene Nkosi, 34, from Dark City near Bronkhorstspruit, was the only African woman honoured this year.
Nkosi said no words could describe how she felt when she saw the article on Thursday.
“To this moment I have goosebumps. I am excited, overwhelmed and feel special,” said the HIV/Aids activist and educator.
The annual list honours women worldwide who work toward the good of their communities. This year it includes Hollywood stars Gal Godot as well as pop star Pink! and renowned researcher Jane Goodall.
Nkosi said she was thankful for the grooming she received from the Mothers2mothers Foundation, which helped build her self-esteem.
She suspected the honour had everything to do with the interviews she did in London last year. “Mothers2mothers had organised an interview for me with different media, and the magazine was among them,” she said.
Nkosi did not have an easy childhood; not only was she neglected and emotionally abused as a child, but she was also raped at the age of 16. She dropped out of school after she became a single mother.
Nkosi said when her daughter Lindokuhle was six, she fell pregnant again and found out she was HIV-positive.
On another visit to the clinic, the nurse told her that Mothers2mothers was looking for HIV-positive women to help at the foundation.
“When I first went there, I thought they had a cure for me, but that was not the case. But surprisingly I was happy to see that I was not alone; there were others just like me.”