NPR often airs excerpts from the Radio Diaries project. I heard Thembi Ngubane’s Radio Diary on All Things Considered on 19 April and I cried. She is articulate and likable and honest and she is only 20 and living with AIDS in South Africa.
A few days ago I tuned in to CNN’s Global AIDS Summit and there, poised and beautiful, speaking in front of Bill Clinton, was Thembi Ngubane. Wow.
For a year, Thembi Ngubane took the tape recorder everywhere. She turned it on when she prayed each morning about the “trespasser” invading her body. It was running when she visited the doctor, and when she finally told her father that she has AIDS.
Ngubane laid open her life as a young South African woman contending with a virus that has infected 5 million of her country’s people. She never dreamed that the experience would bring her to Washington, where she met this week with members of Congress and spoke at a church as part of a U.S. tour that will include an appearance with a former president.
Thembi Ngubane is visiting several U.S. cities with her boyfriend, Melikhaya Pumela, to discuss her life with AIDS. She’ll also appear on a CNN special.
On tape and in person, she has become a voice for a disease that is numbing and overwhelming in its power and reach. Ngubane, 20, is from Khayelitsha, a shantytown near Cape Town that is one of South Africa’s largest, and the recognition is more than she ever imagined.
“It’s quite an honor, but at the same time, I feel small,” she said. “I feel like I’m not going to have something to say to these big guys, but I’m going to speak my mind.”
Here’s the rest of the Washington Post article…
Providing a Plaintive Voice For the World AIDS Epidemic
Here’s the link to her page at Radio Diaries…
Thembi’s AIDS Diary
You can donate to help build Thembi a house.
If you are in Chicago tomorrow night (5/4), Thembi will appear at the Hot House Performance Space.