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Saturday, June 18, 2016


(South African Voices team members: Pamela Bess: Museum audio visual content producer; Bren Brophy: South African Voices Museum Curator; Nkosikhona “Uzzi” Mpungose: Youth liaison officer, and Debbie Heustice: South African Voices Project Director. Pic by Harry Lock)

Opening to the public from July 2016, South African Voices: Towards a Museum of HIV Memory and Learning is a collection of artefacts, artistic, historic and photographic items that pay tribute to people affected by HIV.

South African Voices is a partnership project between eThekwini Municipality, Avacarehealth and info4africa. It will be situated at KwaMuhle Local History Museum

The collected items pay tribute to those who suffered and succumbed, and those who live with HIV every day in South Africa.

“Created as a legacy project of AIDS2016, South African Voices documents a critical and defining chapter in our collective history in South Africa. It offers all people space to celebrate the achievements and reflect on the journey we have taken from the dark days of denialism and calls to "Break the Silence" at AIDS2000, to having the largest HIV treatment programme in the world,” says project director, info4africa’s Debbie Heustice.

Curator Bren Brophy says: “Drawing from the experiences of a wide variety of stakeholders engaged in HIV-related health care in South Africa, South African Voices strives to tell the story of our South African HIV history in a manner that is authentic, elegant, sensitive and holistic.”

Heustice adds: “As our journey with HIV is far from over, South African Voices is an ever-evolving collection of memories and stories that explore the lived human experiences of the South African HIV pandemic. This South African Voices collection marks the start of a journey towards institutionalising a museum of HIV memory and learning in South Africa.”

A special project within South African Voices will be the construction of a Light of Hope- an interactive sculpture installation taking the form of a large HIV hope light sculpture. The Light of Hope is being designed and facilitated by Robin Opperman and Ujala Sewpersad of Umcebo Design.

The Light of Hope sculpture will be constructed in the Global Village of the AIDS2016 Conference this July. Consisting of plastic leaves made from recycled materials, each leaf will carry personalised, beaded messages of remembrance, hope and celebration. The idea is for conference delegates to participate in the making of the Light of Hope artwork and in so doing, contribute their voices to this special, legacy museum piece.

Visitors of the South African Voices will be encouraged to share their lived experiences of HIV with the museum by contributing their stories as well as donating archival and contemporary materials. Beyond AIDS2016, South African Voices will continue to be a dynamic, creative and equitable space for learning, dialogue and reflection.

South African Voices will be open to the public from July 12 onwards. Special opening times during AIDS2016 event: July 18 to 22: 08h00 to 16h30. Normal opening times: Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 15h50 and Saturdays from 08h30 to 12h30. KwaMuhle Local History Museum is situated on Bram Fischer Road, adjacent to the AIDS2016 Conference parking.