Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Health, HIV/AIDS

With the World HIV/AIDS Conference being held in SA this year during June there is this initiative by SANAC to collect Quilts from all sectors. Each sector is required to produce quilts that will form part of the 50,000 quilts that South Africa under the banner of SANAC will display in the street of Durban during the 2016 International AIDS Conference.


What you need to do is:

  1. Call Sindi from SANAC Secretariat to request assistance on a training workshop to empower your sector to develop your quilts – Sindi is at 078 718 2786.  I have appointed Raymond Mosuwe (Sport, Arts & Culture Coordinator from my office to work closely with Sindi to ensure that the civil society flavor is incorporated in the implementation) – Raymond is at 076 395 8667 and can be contact too.
  2. Once you have engaged with Sindi/ Raymond, had your workshop for your sector, we expect to receive quilts.  Quilts should reach SANAC Secretariat Offices by end of June 2016. SANAC Secretariat will provide a courier service to collect quilts from anywhere in South Africa.

Our aim is to get as many quilts as possible to the office by the middle of June as each one need to catalogued, pictured and the idea is to make a coffee table book with all the best quality quilts, accompanied with its story.

The biennial International AIDS Conference is the highest meeting where science, leadership and community meet for advancing all facets of our collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV and TB. Gathering in Durban in July 2016, world leaders, scientists, policymakers, and people living with HIV will discuss together successes and challenges specific to that country and the current global epidemic trends.

This is the second time that Durban will be hosting the International AIDS Conference, having hosted the XIII International AIDS Conference in 2000 under the theme “Breaking the Silence”. That conference was the first to take place in a developing country and enormously helped to change the approach to global public health. AIDS 2000 was a real watershed in the history of the HIV epidemic. Holding the conference again in Durban, 16 years later, will undoubtedly have a deep and lasting impact on one of the most important challenges of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The AIDS Quilt Project in South Africa draws its inspiration from the United States that has grown into a global effort to remember those whom the world has lost to the AIDS pandemic.  The first AIDS quilt panels in South Africa were made in early 1999.  By October 1999, there were more than 300 panels, all of which were displayed at the International AIDS Conference 2000, a visual reminder of an epidemic where people’s lives have ended prematurely because of AIDS. 

However, at the International AIDS conference in July 2016, South Africa will have an entirely different story to tell. South Africa will be able to boast about having the largest treatment programme in the world, a mother-to-child-transmission rate of less than 2 percent and a life expectancy rate that has risen by more than 20 years over the past decade – as a direct result of ARV treatment.  These stories deserves to be told.  We need to share the South African HIV, AIDS and TB journey with the international world when they visit South African in July 2016 – bring back the quilt concept from AIDS Conference 2000. 

The quilt display will represent the stories of the many South Africans that are unable to participate at the AIDS Conference - giving  insights into the people whose lives lie behind the statistics, it becomes real stories rather than numbers.

Several Civil Society Sectors are already making their quilts, including the PLWHIV, Sex workers and the LGBTI sector. 

We can only imagine the powerful stories coming from every Civil Society Sector and the communities that they are working in.  Imagine the streets of Durban laid out in the many stories of people from within the thousands of communities and how they have benefited from the work and support that they receive from Civil Society Organisations at grassroots level.

 Ample opportunities pre-and post the conference will be available to acknowledge your contribution throughout the journey. This is beyond a meeting and boardroom. It is also not about policy or political issues of HIV, it is telling the story of the journey – so please get on it and let us make it work.

Mabalane Mfundisi
Deputy Chairperson
SANAC Civil Society Forum (CSF)
Cell: +27 73 481 3939
Tel: + 27 11 042 6254